Streaking Comet (February 27, 2009)
The two coronagraphs on the SOHO spacecraft watched as a sun-grazing comet headed right towards the Sun and disappeared, almost certainly burnt up by the Sun's radiation (Feb. 22-23, 2009). This comet belonged to the Kreutz group of comets, fragments left over from a much larger earlier comet. Although the Kreutz sun-grazing comets are usually rather small, this particular one was one of the brightest sun-grazers observed by SOHO over the years. The blue C3 video clip shows frames for about two days; the red C2 shows just a few hours. Comets are basically ancient balls of ice and dust that fly around the solar system. The white circle represents the size of the Sun hidden by the occulting disk so that we can see faint features in the sun's outer corona.
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.