The "Comet of the Century" is now, officially, the Turkey of the Century.
"Among experts, a consensus is building that the comet broke apart shortly before perihelion (closest approach to the sun)," writes Tony Phillips, NASA astronomer and curator of Spaceweather.com.
ANALYSIS: Comet ISON Barely Survives Thanksgiving Solar Roast
Like the countless sungrazing comets that have come before it, ISON succumbed to the close solar pass. Although hopes were high that the comet would survive the plunge, no one really knew what ISON was going to do. As a "virgin" comet from the Oort Cloud (a hypothetical cloud of cometary objects approximately one light-year from the sun), this was ISON's first visit to the inner solar system. With little information on the comet's composition, cometary fragmentation was always a possibility.
All that remains of Comet ISON seems to be a fan-shaped debris field of small fragments of the once-mighty cometary nucleus, each shard frantically venting the remaining ices into space. Any hope of seeing a dazzling naked-eye comet just in time for Christmas is vaporizing faster than the sublimating ISON fragments that now litter interplanetary space.