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The Zombie in the Sky

1 December 2013

At www.universetoday.com/106832/zombie-ison-behaving-like-a-comet-stunned-a… … well, something came out of the back end of the Sun – but was it the nucleus. It certainly blazed with light for awhile – in a large triangular formation – and see www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2013/11/it-now-looks-like-some-chunk-of-is…

On Thursday NASA scientists certified that ISON was dead – zilch. However, amateur astronomers continued to peer up at the sky in hope – and many professional astronomers stayed at their telescopes. Subsequently (and both posts above have video images of the comet approaching and leaving the Sun) it brightened and everybody got excited once again. For example, John Mclean of the Royal Astronomical Society observatory at Sidmouth.

Universe Today called it the zombie comet – sparking back into life and NASA announced it was unclear if it was a comet or just debris rather than a nucleus. Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy got very excited – but the ESA (European Space Agency) said the nucleus has mostly disintegrated – part of it may have survived but even this is not clear. The guesswork continued as NASAs Solar Dynamics Observatory couldn't see anything at all – in spote of the video of a bright fan tail (which might be just dust and debris from the disintegration).

Later in the day (Sunday) Anthony Watts claimed it had died for a second time – as the fan of light flicked off – see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/30/zombie-comet-ison-dies-again/ but the proof of the pudding will be at www.spaceweather.com where the info changes daily – but see also www.isoncampaign.org/karl/a-trail-of-questions … which appears to be a site set up by NASAs Karl Battams and discusses the issues involved very well. On the Anthony Watts blog a couple of EU enthusiasts cross swords once again with Leif Svalgaard, solar scientist. They are expecting the comet to come to life once again – we shall see.

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