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Comet’s Death by Sun Photographed for First Time

July 13, 2011 Comments off

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A comet's demise in the sun
The Solar Dynamics Observatory AIA imager (observing in extreme ultraviolet light) actually spotted a sun-grazing comet as it disintegrated over about a 15 minute period (July 6, 2011), something never observed before. The angle of the comet’s orbit brought it across the front half of the Sun. Given the intense heat and radiation, the comet simply evaporated away completely. The comet was probably a member of the Kreutz sun-grazer family.
CREDIT: NASA/SDO/AIA

The death of a comet that plunged into the sun was captured on camera this month for the first time in history, scientists say.

The comet met its fiery demise on July 6 when it zoomed in from behind the sun and melted into oblivion as it crashed into the star. It was NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a satellite orbiting Earth that studies the sun, which witnessed the comet’s death-blow.

One of the SDO spacecraft’s high-definition imagers “actually spotted a sun-grazing comet as it disintegrated over about a 15 minute period (July 6, 2011), something never observed Read more…

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