Comet ISON fell apart earlier than realized

Doomed rock broke up hours before it flew by the sun last year

FINAL MOMENTS  Comet ISON’s tail of dust (colored) separated from its nucleus (red cross, upper left) about 40 minutes before the comet’s flyby of the sun. The red dots trace the comet’s trajectory as it crossed roughly 200,000 kilometers in about 100 minutes.

© MPS 

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