Image of the Day: Comet ISON may not be totally dead

Credit: NASA/ESA

Okay, so comet ISON may not have turned into the "comet of the century." And after its closest pass to the Sun yesterday, we were just hoping that it wasn't been completely vaporized. It's now looking like the ISON has managed to come within 724,000 mi of the Sun's surface, as this picture from the SOHO solar observing spacecraft shows. That bright dot above the blocked out Sun is ISON, post-sunburn, and it appears to be still alive and at least a little bit bright.

What we're less sure about is exactly how much of the comet's core survived, and what percentage of whatever's left over are the ice and stuff that makes comets look so pretty to us here on Earth. It's possible that there's just a dirty, rocky core and little else, so we'll be keeping our eye on ISON over the next few weeks to see whether it manages to put on a good display.

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