…by Anura Guruge
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Fragmentation of Comet ISON was always on the cards.
Check my book.
But, as I have also always maintained (in my books) fragmentation, unless it is totally disastrous, does NOT have to be the end of the world.
Comet Ikeya–Seki, in 1965, C/1965 S1, THE BRIGHTEST comet seen since 1935, another Sungrazer like ISON (but one that went even closer) FRAGMENTED during perihelion.
That proved to be GOOD!
Why? The 3 main pieces stayed close together. But, now there were much, much more exposed surface area. So more of the frozen matter could sublimate (‘evaporate’). It is this sublimation which creates the coma and tails — which in turn is what makes a comet great or not-so-great.
So, fragmentation is OK — unless the comet gets pulverized, i.e., turns to a cloud of dust as did 2010’s Comet Elenin, C/2010 X1 — thought by some, totally irrationally, to be a doomsday comet, Nibiru. Well, that didn’t happen. A gauzy cloud of faint dust isn’t going to damage Earth!