Comet ISON traveled toward the center of the universe from the farthest edge of the solar system, making it a rarity.
ISON made worldwide headlines, promising a cosmic show if it was able to survive its pass by the sun.
According to visiting assistant physics professor at Colorado College Dr. Mariana Lazarova, ISON was expected to get within 730,000 miles of the sun last week.
“There were some hopes that the comet survived because it seemed to reemerge with new tails shortly after it passed its closest approach, but that was just the dust reflecting some of the light of the sun,” said Lazarova.
Several images showed what appeared to be remnants of the comet after it passed by the sun, causing many to believe the comet survived and would continue on to create a bright trail across the sky. Upon further investigation, this ended up not being the case.
“I think the most surprising thing to everybody is the fact that it disappeared from the solar cameras a few hours before closest approach, and scientists are still very uncertain why,” Lazarova explained.
Lazarova said a combination of heat and gravitational pull were the likely causes for the evaporation and disintegration of the comet.
She said the comet is no longer expected to be visible to the naked eye, but said there is much to be learned from this comet.
Lazarova said the journey of ISON will be studied for years to determine the composition and development of comets, something that scientists remain uncertain about.