Comet Dives into the Sun

Video Link (Courtesy NASA/Berkeley)

In this quick image compilation, assembled from para-Earth-orbiting spacecraft, a comet can be seen diving into the Sun's lower atmosphere.

The video above is a compilation of images from the two STEREO spacecraft that orbit with the Earth, one ahead of the planet and the other behind. The configuration allows for nearly full, continuous coverage of the sun, increasing the chance of witnessing something like the kamikaze comet that they spotted in March.

Seeing comets and other small objects approach the sun is difficult because the objects are overwhelmed by the sun’s brightness. Scientists were able to track this one closer to the sun than ever, before it it burned up in the sun’s lower atmosphere.

“We believe this is the first time a comet has been tracked in 3-D space this low down in the solar corona,” Claire Raftery of the University of California, Berkeley said in a press release. The images were presented at the American Astronomical Meeting in Miami May 24.

It's doubtful the Solar Dynamics Observatory got any footage, but at least we can view a noteworthy event such as this.


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