Comet ISON pronounced dead: Sun is chief suspect - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Comet ISON pronounced dead: Sun is chief suspect

Posted:
  • More Local NewsMore Local NewsMore>>

  • Oakvale School celebrates new look

    Oakvale School celebrates new look

    OAKVALE (WVVA) - The much-anticipated opening of Oakvale School has finally arrived.On Monday, students, guests and community members gathered to see the grand opening of the newly-built and renovated building.Tuesday was also move-in day for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.The construction has been underway for two years.More >>
    OAKVALE (WVVA) - The much-anticipated opening of Oakvale School has finally arrived.On Monday, students, guests and community members gathered to see the grand opening of the newly-built and renovated building.Tuesday was also move-in day for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.The construction has been underway for two years.More >>
  • Mercer County man pleads guilty to drug distribution

    Mercer County man pleads guilty to drug distribution

    BLUEFIELD (NEWS RELEASE) – United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today that Jimmy Dale Wright, 56, of Rock, West Virginia, pled guilty in federal court in Bluefield to distributing hydromorphone, a powerful and addictive prescription pain medication. Wright admitted that in August of 2013, he sold pills to a person who was cooperating with law enforcement authorities. The drug deal took place on Pocosin Fork Road in Lashmeet, Mercer County, West Virginia.Wright faces up to 20 years i...More >>
    BLUEFIELD (NEWS RELEASE) – United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today that Jimmy Dale Wright, 56, of Rock, West Virginia, pled guilty in federal court in Bluefield to distributing hydromorphone, a powerful and addictive prescription pain medication. Wright admitted that in August of 2013, he sold pills to a person who was cooperating with law enforcement authorities. The drug deal took place on Pocosin Fork Road in Lashmeet, Mercer County, West Virginia.Wright faces up to 20 years i...More >>
  • UPDATE: Bizarre details revealed in sex abuse case against man who claimed to have 'magic' powers

    UPDATE: Bizarre details revealed in sex abuse case against man who claimed to have 'magic' powers

    Photo by Lindsay OliverPhoto by Lindsay Oliver
    BLUEFIELD (WVVA) - Bluefield Police have arrested a man on multiple counts of sex crimes against children.James Irvin, 56, was taken into custody Monday morning. He is charged with...More >>
    BLUEFIELD (WVVA) - Bluefield Police have arrested a man on multiple counts of sex crimes against children.James Irvin, 56, was taken into custody Monday morning. He is charged with...More >>

WASHINGTON (AP) - Comet ISON, once optimistically called the comet of the century, is dead, the victim of a way-too-close brush with the sun. It was barely a year old.

The comet, which excited astronomers and the media as it zipped within 730,000 miles of the sun on Thanksgiving Day, was pronounced dead at a scientific conference Tuesday. Astronomers who had followed the ice ball mourned the loss of the sky show that once promised to light up during December.

Naval Research Lab astronomer Karl Battams, who headed the observing campaign for the comet, said ISON (EYE'-sahn) was stretched and pulled by the sun's powerful gravity. It was also hit with solar radiation. And the icy snowball just fell apart.

"At this point it seems like there is nothing left," Battams said at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco. "Sorry, everyone, Comet ISON is dead. But its memory will live on."

Astronomers had hoped it would survive because some - but not most - comets make it past close approaches with the sun. Last year, Comet Lovejoy did.

Had ISON survived it would have provided good naked-eye viewing in early December for the Northern Hemisphere, astronomers said. NASA had aimed several telescopes and spacecraft at the comet to watch its close brush with the sun, only to find it missing after the encounter.

Comets are balls of dust and ice from the formation of the solar system billions of years ago. ISON was on its first trip after leaving the Oort cloud on the distant fringes of the solar system. Unlike comets that are "hardened" by several trips around the sun, ISON just couldn't survive its maiden voyage, Battams said.

ISON, about half a mile wide, was tiny and probably smaller than originally estimated, Battams said.

As the comet neared its closest approach to the sun, astronomers had a sense of loss. Battams called watching it in those final hours "a process of heartbreak."

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WVVA.
All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Audrey Sluss at (304) 324-0659. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.