GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ) — Close encounter! All eyes were on outer space as a comet barreled toward the sun. Would it survive this dangerous journey?
Linh Bui explains why the rare event is so important.
It was Thanksgiving Day show in the sky as comet Ison zoomed past the sun, barely missing the surface.
“To try and find the comet as it moves through,” said Dean Pesnell, NASA scientist.
NASA scientists and people around the world have been watching the comet for a year.
It’s more than one mile in diameter, traveling at some 800,000 miles per second.
“Because this comet is an odd comet. It came from very far away. It’s its first time through the solar system, and it had the foresight to go very close to the sun. A lot of people have been taking pictures of it. They want to see this new comet,” Pesnel said.
Thursday at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, scientists tracked Ison’s make-or-break path around the sun.
Will the comet survive or break apart?
“The part of the sun that this will be flying through is at a million kelvin. It’s a million degrees! Almost two million Fahrenheit,” Pesnel said.
Comet Ison was discovered in Russia in September 2012. It was spotted way out by Jupiter.
It turns out Ison did not survive its Thanksgiving Day trip around the sun. Scientists say they will still study the comet’s fragments to see what they can learn.
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