SDO | Outreach

Comet Lovejoy

Comet C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy) went through perihelion at 0017 UTC on December 16, 2011. This was December 15, 2011, 7:17 pm ET. SDO pointed its telescopes a little to the left of the Sun to capture the comet as it passed behind the Sun. We saw the comet in several AIA passbands before perihelion, then repointed the telescopes to sun-centered. To our surprise, we also saw the comet as it came out from behind the Sun! This was the first Kreutz group to survive perihelion in the space age.

This page also includes movies of the comet from a variety of sources.

Movie List