Friday, January 8, 2010

NASA observes comet plunging into the sun


Footage of a comet being swallowed by the sun has been captured by NASA's solar and Helioscopic Observatory (SOHO) .

The comet belongs to the Kreutz family of comets, named for the Heinrich Kreutz(The German astronomer). They are supposed to have broken off from a much larger comet centuries ago, and orbit close to the Sun.

The comet was one of the brightest sun grazing comets that SOHO has noticed in its 14 years of operation. NASA has a video demonstrating the phenomenon, here.
The comet was found out over the weekend by Australian amateur Astronomer Alan Watson, who was inspecting images obtained on December 30.

The images use a 'false eclipse' technique to screen out the sun and permit the comet to be seen.

Hundreds of Kreutz comets, of all sizes and shapes, have been discovered since the launch of the SOHO satellite. All have suffered the similar fiery fate. One more cluster is believed to be on its way and is expected to arrive in a few years.

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