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ISON: Overview
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Color image of comet with stars and galaxies in the background.
Comet ISON as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope on 30 April 2013.

Comet ISON was the subject of the most coordinated observing campaign in history. Over the course of a year, more than a dozen spacecraft and numerous ground-based observers collected what is believed to be the largest single cometary dataset in history.

Cataloged as C/2012 S1, comet ISON began it's journey to the inner solar system about three millions years ago. It was first spotted 585 million miles away in September 2012. This was its very first trip around the sun, which means it was made of pristine matter from the earliest days of the solar system's formation. Unlike comets who have made several passes through the inner solar system, ISON's top layers were never lost after heating by the sun. The comet was a time capsule from when our solar system formed.

Scientists around the world began an unprecedented observing campaign, using many ground-based observatories and 16 spacecraft (all but four successfully studied the comet).

On 28 Nov 2013, Scientists watched as ISON was torn apart by the sun's intense gravitational forces, a fate shared by most sungrazer comets.

Read More About ISON Blue arrow

Banner is a link to the comet ISON toolkit.
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Peter Jenniskens Peter Jenniskens
"I study what meteor showers and meteorites teach us about comets and asteroids, the origin of the Zodiacal cloud, and our own past and future." Read More...
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Last Updated: 4 Nov 2014