Question

Does anyone know about the sizes of remnant debris of comet Ison and do their trajectories intersect with earth?

We saw many analyses on youtube that there are probably still large pieces of debris of comet Ison, some of them said that there may be a chance to intersect with earth between 15 Dec until Jan.

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All Answers (8)

  • Marshall Eubanks · Asteroid Initiatives LLC
    There has been much discussion about ISON on the Comet group mailing list. At present, there is no evidence that ISON survived perihelion and, if it did, it must be as a pretty inactive asteroid-like small (< 500 m radius?) nucleus, not a comet. The Hubble will try and image the nucleus in about 2 weeks, as soon as ISON gets far enough away from the Sun for the HST to safely look in its direction.

    On January 14th and 15th, 2014, the Earth will pass near ISON's orbit (not near the body itself) and we might get a meteor shower, but that's about it. Note that the Earth has more than once passed directly through a comet's tail without any ill-effects, and passes through comet orbits on a regular basis (that is the source of most if not all meteor showers); there is no reason to expect anything different this time.
  • Vladan Celebonovic · University of Belgrade
    A small addendum: taking into account the known fact that comet nuclei have low mass densities, even if an impact into the Earth was to occur, no dramatic consequences would happen.
  • Sadeem Fadhil · Al-Nahrain University
    Dear Vladan and Marshall
    As you said the debris if they were of small size may not have noticeble effects . But if there any large sizes that might be miss observed I think this may represent something that must attract our attension.I just want to refer to the effect of
    collision of comet Shomecker with Jupiter . The colision was of high energy and its effect was clear on Jupiter ,what do you think?
  • Marshall Eubanks · Asteroid Initiatives LLC
    Shoemaker Levy 9 was broken in 1992. Over the next two years, the pieces spread apart by ~1 million km (end to end), implying relative velocities of order 10 m/sec. A similar breakup of ISON would not bring any of the pieces anywhere near the Earth - plus, ISON was not nearly as big, so any pieces would be much smaller.
  • Sadeem Fadhil · Al-Nahrain University
    @Marshall
    thank you for your answer.During the next few days the debries effect will better appeared and I think many scientists will be interested in studying these effects at least on the atmosphere.
  • Vladan Celebonovic · University of Belgrade
    Sadeem, you are right in saying that any possible larger pieces of ISON are worth observing. Certainly,...but as it can be seen on photos of the region of the sky where ISON should be, there are NO such pieces.So,..I may be wrong of course, but it seems to me that ISON is gone (so to say).
  • Marshall Eubanks · Asteroid Initiatives LLC
    If there is anything (and maybe Hubble will see it) it's probably in the 100 meter diameter level, if that.
  • Shylaja B · J N Planetarium
    The earth will not pass through the orbit; it is slightly above the debris. Therefore even the shower is unlikely. Considering that it was going to have a very long tail the prediction on the shower had been made last May.

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