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Scientists declare Comet ISON dead after flyby of Sun
Posted: Thu, Dec 12, 2013, 6:48 AM ET (1148 GMT)
Comet ISON in November 2013 (NASA Planetary scientists said this week that they believe Comet ISON did not survive its close approach to the Sun on Thanksgiving Day, and was likely smaller than originally thought. Scientists and the public alike had high hopes for the comet, which many thought could become a brilliant spectacle after it flew within about 1.2 million kilometers of the Sun on November 28. However, the comet was not easily visible immediately after the flyby, and failed to brighten as expected. Scientists attending the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco this week said they believed the comet broke up during its flyby of the Sun, leaving only dust behind. Observations of the comet taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as the comet made a close approach to Mars before perihelion indicated that the nucleus was likely less than 600 meters in diameter, a size that would have made it unlikely to survive a close approach to the Sun intact.
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