Science

Sun-grazing comet ISON likely broke up, scientists say

Nov. 25, 2013: In this frame grab taken from enhanced video made by NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft, comet ISON, left, approaches the sun on Nov. 25, 2013.

Nov. 25, 2013: In this frame grab taken from enhanced video made by NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft, comet ISON, left, approaches the sun on Nov. 25, 2013.  (AP/NASA)

Scientists say it appears a comet from the fringes of the solar system didn't survive its close encounter with the sizzling sun.

Images from NASA spacecraft showed Comet ISON approaching for its slingshot around the sun on Thursday, but nothing coming out on the other side.

In a Google+ hangout, U.S. Navy solar researcher Karl Battams said "ISON probably hasn't survived this journey."

Phil Plait, an astronomer who runs the "Bad Astronomy" blog, agreed, saying "I don't think the comet made it."

Still, he said, it wouldn't be all bad news if the 4.5-billion-year-old rock broke up into pieces, because astronomers might be able to study the pieces and learn more about comets.