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Comet ISON makes its close flyby of the sun today.
Three possible fates await Comet ISON, according to Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
“It could be tough enough to survive the passage of the sun and be a fairly bright naked-eye object in the early morning sky in the first week of December,” Yeomans said in a statement. “Or, the sun could actually pull it apart. The tidal forces could actually pull this comet apart and so it becomes several chunks rounding the sun and putting on a great show again in early December. Or, if the comet is very weak, it could break up into a cloud of dust and be a complete bust in December.”
So far the comet has been a big disappointment in terms of brightness. However, its flyby today will be interesting as scientists will get a chance to observe one of the largest sun-grazers they’ve ever seen do this.