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Watch comet ISON hurtle toward the sun in stunning NASA video

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From a camera far out in space, NASA has captured comet ISON's stunning first trip past the earth. The video, which you can watch below, shows comet ISON from November 20th up until November 25th, traveling by both Mercury and Earth on its path toward rounding the sun. The comet will begin rounding the sun tomorrow, in an encounter that could just spell its end: the sun's radiation will begin to weaken the comet by boiling its water even before it reaches Mars, and it'll then have to withstand even greater radiation and pressure as it actually flies by the sun's surface.

NASA writes that even if comet ISON doesn't survive, its researchers will still be able to learn plenty just from tracking its journey. The agency says that it'll be able to determine what the comet is made of, learn a little bit more about how the sun works, and even shed some light on the origin of the solar system. While plenty of instruments have been trained on comet ISON over these last couple weeks, this latest video is from the Heliospheric Imager on NASA's STEREO spacecraft. It offers a brilliant view of comet ISON — and if you're looking closely, you can see comet Encke passing by too.