ISON skimmed past the Sun at a distance of just 1.17 million kilometres (Source: ESA/NASA/SOHO/SDO/GSFC)
Comet ISON confirmed gone after brush with Sun

Confirmation NASA has confirmed that Comet ISON, which recently grabbed worldwide attention, did not survive its brush with the Sun last week.

"Though the exact time of ISON's death is uncertain it does appear to be no more. All that is left is a cloud of debris without a nucleus," says C Alex Young of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Dubbed the 'Comet of the Century', the icy giant described as a massive, dirty snowball skimmed past the Sun at a distance of just 1.17 million kilometres around 5:30 am (AEDT) on Friday.

It had been estimated that ISON would experience temperatures of 2700°C and lose three million tonnes of its mass per second as it made its journey around the Sun.

Most astronomers had predicted the comet, with an estimated diameter of some 1.2 kilometers, would not survive the flypast.

Still, some observers had held out a sliver of hope that the 4.5 billion-year-old comet might have survived.

Karl Battams, a scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory, wrote a brief obituary for the comet, formally known as C/2012 S1 (ISON) after the telescope called the International Scientific Optical Network used by the Russian astronomers who spotted it in 2012.

"Never one to follow convention, ISON lived a dynamic and unpredictable life, alternating between periods of quiet reflection and violent outburst," Battams wrote.

"Survived by approximately several trillion siblings, Comet ISON leaves behind an unprecedented legacy for astronomers, and the eternal gratitude of an enthralled global audience."

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