November 29, 2013
It made for perhaps the nerdiest Thanksgiving moment ever when I plugged a Google Chromecast into my mother’s TV on Thursday and proceeded to put a live NASA Google+ Hangout on Comet ISON’s sun-grazing journey on the screen in the living room.
By the time all the pumpkin pie had been knocked back and the turkey set to work lulling me into a coma, ISON had failed to emerge from the sun’s shadow after reaching perihelion, leading many observers to conclude that the comet had been destroyed by its close encounter with the massive nuclear furnace at the center of our galactic cul-de-sac.
ISON is a breed of comet fresh in from the Oort Cloud, the likes of which have not been observed from Earth in many years. If it were to survive perihelion, it would be flung back out to deep space, perhaps giving off a spectacular light show for us on planet No. 3 in the process.