NASAs SOHO captures a comet diving into the sun

first_imgNASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) has been watching our sun ever since it launched way back in 1995. Since then it has discovered over 2,400 comets and beamed back some stunning footage, including a huge sun eruption a few months ago. On August 19 it captured another special event, though, made all the more special by a well timed coronal mass ejection (CME).The video you see below is of a comet that’s thought to have been a member of the Kreutz family of comets known as the sungrazers (comets with an orbit that takes them very close to the sun). This one ended up being on a collision course with the sun, but it never actually made it that far. The comet was only a few tens of meters in diameter, so as it got closer to the sun the temperature rose to the point where it vaporized within touching distance.However, just as the comet disappears, the sun lets out a large CME that’s well timed enough to look as though the comet had a hand in causing it. Sadly that’s not the case as the Kreutz comet was just too small to even reach, let alone cause a reaction by the sun to an impact. The CME was apparently triggered by an explosion on the other side of the sun.SOHO has been in operation now for nearly 18 years, and I for one hope NASA and the ESA manage to keep it functioning for many years to come, supplying us with more imagery of the sun and the events that happen on and around it.last_img read more

Continue reading