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Scientists: Sun-grazing comet likely broke up

STOCKHOLM (AP) - 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.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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