New Comet Lovejoy video from SDO/SOHO Picture of the Week
Steele Hill, NASA Goddard’s herald of all things heliospheric, just posted his latest release of imagery, courtesy of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Steele creates these images and videos for display in science museums and other public places. The video and image in this post combined solar imagery from both SDO and SOHO of the rounding of the sun by Comet Lovejoy last week. Steele’s descriptive text (below) explains the details.
And by the way, Steele and his colleagues have just surpassed their 500th solar “Picture of the Week.” It took 10 years. Congratulations!
“Comet Lovejoy came into view on Dec. 14 as a bright, white streak, skimmed across the Sun’s edge about 140,000 km above the surface late Dec. 15 and early Dec. 16, 2011, furiously brightening and vaporizing as it approached the Sun. It exited our field of view on Dec. 18. It was the brightest sun-grazing comet that SOHO had ever seen, with a nucleus about twice as wide as a football field. It unexpectedly survived the pass and cruised out from behind the Sun some hours later. Comets are ancient balls of dust and ice.
“In this still and movie, we combine views from SOHO’s two different coronagraphs (which block out the Sun) with solar Dynamics Observatory’s view of the Sun itself. Note how the tail of the comet always turns away from the Sun due to the forces of the solar wind.”
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