Friday, March 12, 2010

New Bright Sungrazing Comet

A new bright sungrazing comet has been discovered in the images of SOHO spacecraft. The comet is probably a member of the Kreutz sungrazer family and probably will not survive this close encounter with the Sun.

This is the 3rd bright sungrazer found in the last few months. Other 2 bright sungrazers were found in January 2010:

The comet is now visible in the images taken by LASCO C3 & C2 cameras of SOHO spacecraft. In the same animation, spanning roughly 12-hours, there is the comet, the planet Mercury and a coronal mass ejection (CME) :

C3 Movie

Image with labels (Credit: Spaceweather) :

C2 Movie (click to see a bigger version)


Upon closer inspection of the SOHO images it was found that this comet was part of a series of at least four comet fragments following the same trajectory. All the comets are highlighted in this video:

Anyway as expected, these sungrazing comets have not survived the close encounter with the sun.

by Ernesto Guido

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