|Image from NASA's SOHO satellite|
Yesterday I posted about the death of Comet ISON..... disregard the obituary because it appears to have been resurrected like a giant trick birthday candle blown out by the solar wind. Although the comet is not dead, it lost some mass and may have fragmented. It will not be the 'Comet of the Century', because that would have happened yesterday at the time that its demise appeared to take place.
For a more informed explanation here is a cut and paste from today's :spaceweather.com front page
COMET ISON LIVES (UPDATED): Cancel the funeral. Comet ISON is back from the dead. Yesterday, Nov. 28th, Comet ISON flew through the sun's atmosphere and appeared to disintegrate before the cameras of several NASA and ESA spacecraft. This prompted reports of the comet's demise. Today, the comet has revived and is rapidly brightening. Click to view a SOHO coronagraph movie of the solar flyby (updated Nov. 29 @ 1800 UT):
Before the flyby, experts had made many predictions about what might happen to the comet, ranging from utter disintegration to glorious survival. No one predicted both.
Karl Battams of NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign says, "[colleague] Matthew Knight and I are ripping our hair out right now as we know that so many people in the public, the media and in science teams want to know what's happened. We'd love to know that too! Right now, here's our working hypothesis:"As comet ISON plunged towards to the Sun, it began to fall apart, losing not giant fragments but at least a lot of reasonably sized chunks. There's evidence of very large dust in the long thin tail we saw in the [SOHO coronagraph] images. Then, as ISON plunged through the corona, it continued to fall apart and vaporize, losing its coma and tail completely just like sungrazing Comet Lovejoy did in 2011. What emerged from the Sun was a small but perhaps somewhat coherent nucleus that has resumed emitting dust and gas for at least the time being."
Battams emphasizes that it is too soon to tell how big the remnant nucleus is or how bright the resurgent comet will ultimately become. "We have a whole new set of unknowns, and this ridiculous, crazy, dynamic and unpredictable object continues to amaze, astound and confuse us to no end. We ask that you please be patient with us for a couple of days as we analyze the data and try to work out what is happening."