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Twin Comets Race To Death By Fire

Date:
June 5, 1998
Source:
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary:
In a rare celestial spectacle near Earth's own star, two comets were seen plunging into the Sun's atmosphere in close succession on June 1 and 2. The demise of the comets was followed the same day by a dramatic ejection of hot gas and magnetic energy known as a coronal mass ejection. The observations were made by the Large-Angle Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

In a rare celestial spectacle near Earth's own star, two comets were seen plunging into the Sun's atmosphere in close succession on June 1 and 2. The demise of the comets was followed the same day by a dramatic ejection of hot gas and magnetic energy known as a coronal mass ejection. The observations were made by the Large-Angle Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). The comets belong to a family known as the "Kreutz Sun-grazers," a class of comets that pass through the solar atmosphere, or corona, at distances as close as 50,000 km (30,000 miles) from the surface. In the images taken on June 1 and 2, the comets brighten rapidly as they approach the Sun and disappear as they are evaporated by solar radiation. Solar physicists have never seen a comet actually hit the Sun's surface, as comets which appear bright against the night sky are quickly lost in the glare of the Sun.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. "Twin Comets Race To Death By Fire." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980605080254.htm>.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. (1998, June 5). Twin Comets Race To Death By Fire. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980605080254.htm
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. "Twin Comets Race To Death By Fire." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980605080254.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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