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Comet's Demise Observed for the First Time


The Solar Dynamics Observatory AIA imager (observing in extreme ultraviolet light) observed the evaporation of a sun-grazing comet as it disintegrated over about a 15-minute period (July 6, 2011), and seeing the material interact with the corona of the Sun, both events never observed before. The angle of the comet's orbit brought it across the front half of the Sun. It's not immediately obvious, but if you watch the movie closely, you'll see a line of light appear in the right just off the edge of the Sun and move across to the left. Given the intense heat and radiation, the comet simply evaporated away completely. The comet was probably a member of the Kreutz sun-grazer family.

Search Tag(s): 171, comet




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