Sungrazing Comet (February 16, 2007)
Hi-res TIF image(1.7M)
A relatively small comet appeared in the lower left area of the field of view of SOHO's C3 coronagraph instrument on February 6, 2007 and streaked right towards the Sun. We call these "sungrazer" comets. It most likely belonged to the Kreutz comet group. Kreutz comets are a family of comets that we often spot passing near the Sun. The members of the Kreutz group are believed to have all originated as part of the same parent comet that broke up in the past near perihelion (the closest approach to the Sun). This comet seems to disappear as it approaches the Sun. It is quite possible that heat from the Sun caused it to vaporize. Using SOHO images, amateur comet hunters are able to detect these fairly frequently. Over 1,200 comets have been discovered by SOHO.
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.
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