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How NASA Space Assets Observed Comet ISON
How NASA Space Assets Observed Comet ISON (click to enlarge)

How NASA Space Assets Observed Comet ISON

An unprecedented space fleet tracked comet ISON:

  1. Solar Dynamics Observatory: SDO did not detect the comet.
  2. SOHO: SOHO observed ISON as it plunged through the Sun's corona in November during perihelion.
  3. STEREO: STEREO observed ISON as it passed by on its way to Sun in October.
  4. MESSENGER: MESSENGER observed ISON as it passed by Mercury on November 19th on its way to the sun.
  5. BRRISON: BRRISON, a sub-orbital balloon, launched successfully, but its instrument failed and did not observe the comet.
  6. FORTIS: FORTIS, a sounding rocket, launched on November 20, 2013 will obtain ultra-violet spectra from ISON.
  7. Hubble Space Telescope: Observed ISON in April-May and will see it again in October and December (if ISON survives).
  8. Spitzer Space Telescope: Hubble observed ISON in April-May and October. Hubble may see remnants (if any) in December.
  9. Chandra X-ray Observatory: In November, Chandra observed ISON with its X-ray instruments.
  10. International Space Station: Astronauts aboard the International Space Station observed Comet ISON on November 23, 2013.
  11. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was not able to observe ISON.
  12. Swift: In January and March, Swift observed ISON in X-ray and UV when it was 460 million miles away from the sun.
  13. Curiosity: Curiosity was not able to observe ISON as it passed by Mars.
  14. Opportunity: Opportunity was not able to observe ISON as it passed by Mars.
  15. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter observed ISON as it passed by Mars on October 1st.
  16. Deep Impact: Deep Impact imaged ISON for the first time on January 17 and 18, 2013, from 493 million miles away.
  17. SOFIA: SOFIA, an airborne observatory, captured images of ISON on October 24, 2013, in Infrared.

Comet ISON Toolkit | Download Printer-Friendly Version (PDF, 373 KB)

Credit: NASA

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Last Updated: 6 Dec 2013