SOHO sees something new near the sun

February 24, 2015

An unusual comet skimmed past the sun on Feb 18-21, 2015, as captured by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO.

This was interesting for two reasons. First it's what's called a non-group comet, meaning it's not part of any known family of comets. Most comets seen by SOHO belong to the Kreutz family - all of which broke off from a single giant comet many centuries ago.

The second reason it's interesting is because the vast majority of comets that come close enough to the sun to be seen by SOHO do not survive the trip. Known as sungrazers, these comets usually evaporate in the intense sunlight. This comet made it to within 2.2 million miles of the sun's surface - but survived the trip intact.

"There's a half-decent chance that ground observers might be able to detect it in the coming weeks," said Karl Battams, a solar scientist at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C. "But it's also possible that events during its trip around the will cause it to die fairly fast."

Explore further: First-ever view of a sungrazer comet in front of the sun (w/ video)

Related Stories

Using many instruments to track a comet

December 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In 16 years of data observations, the Solar Heliophysics Observatory (SOHO) -- a joint European Space Agency and NASA mission –- made an unexpected claim for fame: the sighting of new comets at an alarming ...

Image: Comet ISON on Thanksgiving Day

November 29, 2013

Comet ISON has moved quite close to the sun as seen by from ESA/NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory captured at 10:51 a.m. EST on Nov. 28, 2013.

ESA image: Comet ISON's swansong

December 1, 2014

Some had hoped comet ISON would be the comet of the century, lighting Earth's skies during the latter months of 2013. Instead, it was barely visible for ground-based observers, but the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) ...

NRL-developed telescopes await the approaching comet ISON

November 14, 2013

When Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), a so-called Sungrazing comet, sweeps by the Sun on November 28, 2013, telescopes developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) will be lined up for a spectacular front row view.

Recommended for you

Hints of extra dimensions in gravitational waves?

June 28, 2017

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) in Potsdam found that hidden dimensions – as predicted by string theory – could influence gravitational waves. In a recently ...

New 'hot Jupiter' exoplanet detected by K2 mission

June 28, 2017

(Phys.org)—An international team of astronomers has identified a new extrasolar planet from the data provided by Kepler spacecraft's prolonged mission known as K2. The newly found exoworld, designated EPIC 228735255b, is ...

Galaxy NGC 1132 has a disturbed hot halo, study finds

June 27, 2017

(Phys.org)—A new study recently published on arXiv.org reveals that the fossil group galaxy NGC 1132 (also known as UGC 2359) has a disturbed and asymmetrical hot halo. The findings provide new insights into the formation ...

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ManintheMoon
5 / 5 (3) Feb 24, 2015
This is kind of late news but here is the link to SOHO with stills and video of the close approach of this comet (SOHO 2,875) to the Sun. Will try and pick it up when it moves out of the glare of the Sun into the night sky, Way cool!
http://sohowww.na...theweek/
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (5) Feb 25, 2015
Another sungrazer, another CME. One of these days space scientists will see the 'connection'.
barakn
5 / 5 (4) Feb 25, 2015
CMEs happen on a much more frequent basis than sungrazers. The "connection" is pure coincidence driven by the high frequency of CMEs. Please stop posting pseudoscience.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.