Comet ISON was punier than previously thought

By Science News Staff, 11:33 AM December 11, 2013

Guest post by Gabriel Popkin

SAN FRANCISCO — ISON, the comet whose Thanksgiving encounter with the sun captivated astronomers and the public, was probably no wider than New York’s Central Park.

A previous estimate from Hubble Space Telescope images put the maximum diameter of the comet’s core at 4 kilometers. But new estimates from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggest that the comet was almost certainly between 100 meters and 1 kilometer, and probably between 300 and 600 meters.

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