Video: ‘Comet of the century’ brushes past the Sun

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Comet Ison’s close encounter with the Sun was captured on video by a watching spacecraft.

Stargazers’ chances of getting to see the comet with the naked eye depend on whether or not it survived last night’s episode.

Comet Ison heading for the Sun.'Photograph courtesy of NASA/SOHO.

Comet Ison heading for the Sun.'Photograph courtesy of NASA/SOHO.

And scientists were playing down people’s hopes of a galactic spectacle this morning.

Although the comet can be seen emerging from the other side of the Sun in the footage, scientists believe its nucleus was vapourised as it came within 730,000 miles of the surface.

And it is likely that only the comet’s tail has remained in orbit.

But it could be enough to give stargazers a display – and if it is, it should be visible close to the Sun at sunrise and sunset for the next couple of weeks.

Nasa tweeted last night: “Breaking up is hard to do. Like Icarus, comet Ison may have flown too close to the Sun. We will continue to learn.”

The footage was taken from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), which was launched in 1995 to study the Sun.

If you get any photographs of the comet, please send them to us.