Images from other spacecraft showed a light streak continuing past the sun, but Young said that was most likely a trail of dust continuing in the comet’s trajectory.
However, instead of fading, that trail appeared to get brighter yesterday, suggesting that “at least some small fraction of ISON has remained in one piece,” U.S. Navy solar researcher Karl Battams wrote on his blog. He cautioned that even if there is a solid nucleus, it may not survive for long.
Two years ago, a smaller comet, Lovejoy, grazed the sun and survived, but fell apart a couple of days later.
“This is what makes science interesting,” said Fitzsimmons.