Working the Angles (May 12, 2006)
This week's movie (May 8- 9, 2006) of 30 hours of the Sun's corona features two events in motion moving at 90 degree angles to each other, though not at the same time. First we observe a coronal mass ejection (CME) blast out from the Sun at about the four o'clock position. It carries with it billions of tons of particles at over a million miles per hour. It will probably have no impact on Earth as it is heading too far over to the right. Then, a fairly bright comet appears around 23:30 UT, just to the right of the white time/date stamp, and heads right for the Sun (see arrow in the still image). It diminishes and disappears before it gets to the red occulting disk. (The white circle represents the size of the Sun.)
May and June are well known to SOHO comet hunters as productive months for discovering them. This is comet number 1,130 for SOHO, which has discovered more comets than anyone or any instrument in history. A majority of the comets have been discovered by amateur comet hunters using SOHO images over the Internet.
SOHO began its Weekly Pick some time after sending a weekly image or video clip to the American Museum of Natural History (Rose Center) in New York City. There, the SOHO Weekly Pick is displayed with some annotations on a large plasma display.
If your institution would also like to receive the same Weekly Pick from us for display (usually in Photoshop or QuickTime format), please send your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.