Comet ISON is Still Dead

The definitive results are in from the Hubble Space Telescope… Comet ISON is still dead.

ISON SOHO LASCO C3
What remains of comet C/2012S1 ISON after perihelion in the SOHO LASCO C3 imagery
On the 18th the Hubble team imaged the expected coordinates of comet C/2012 S1 ISON and found nothing. Given the sensitivities of the instrument and the exposure length, anything brighter than 25th magnitude would have been detected. There was some uncertainty in the position, thus several different locations were imaged with Hubble.

25th magnitude is a lot deeper than amateur attempts at recovery, though the amateur efforts likely covered a great deal more area than Hubble with wider fields of view. Still, there have been no reports of any remains detected by any searcher.

Does this rule out any surviving fragments?

We can’t completely rule out the possibility that something is left of the comet. After all, it was seen after its passage close to the Sun, but disappeared not long after. This material would still exist, but is likely very diffuse gas, dust, and very small pieces spread over an extremely large area. – Zolt Levay, The HubbleSite Blog

I think it is pretty safe to call this comet dead.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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