SOHO spots comet dying out of intense heat of the Sun

SOHO spots comet dying out of intense heat of the Sun

NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) witnessed a sungrazing comet first falling toward the Sun, and then meeting its end. Heat from the Sun prevented it from completing its journey around the Sun. The comet that appeared as falling into the Sun had a speed of 600 kilometers per second.

It often happens that comets pass close to the Sun and die when come closer to the Sun as they fail to withstand the intense heat of the Sun. But minors are difficult to spot and big as recently dead comet come visible. The comet was fastest object in our solar system when it died.

The comet is from a group known as sungrazer comets. The group has an orbital path pass close to the Sun. It belonged to the family of the Kreutz sungrazers, which are pieces of a giant comet that was destroyed by the Sun thousands of years ago. It likely broke into 20,000 fragments. After its collapse, the ice that holds it evaporated as the comet went too close to the Sun.

"This comet didn't fall into the sun, but rather whipped around it - or at least, it would have if it had survived its journey", said Sarah Frazier, from the Goddard Space Flight Center of the US space agency.

The most of the sungrazers that SOHO spotted belonged to the Kreutz group. The recently seen comet was first spotted on August 1. It was one of the brightest Kreutz sungrazers that the SOHO has witnessed over past two decades. SOHO has been observing the Sun from last more than 20 years.

A report published in PATCH revealed, "A NASA video shot from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) shows a bright line of a comet slingshotting toward the sun, a familiar theme in Hollywood sci-fi films. However, this comet wasn't so lucky."

"Comets are chunks of ice and dust that orbit the sun, usually in high elliptical orbits that carry them far beyond the orbit of Pluto at their farthest points," Sarah Frazier of NASA'S Goddard Space Flight Center said.

On Aug. 1, this comet — part of the Kreutz family of comets that broke off from a large comet several centuries ago — vaporized on its journey around the backside of the sun. "The comet was vaporized or torn apart by the intense forces near the sun," Frazier said.

According to a report in TECH TIMES by Rhodi Lee, "It turned out that the comet is bound for death and is plunging to the sun, its cosmic death chamber, at an incredible speed. Astronomer Karl Battams, who is part of SOHO's Sungrazer Comet Project, said that the comet was the fastest object they have seen in the solar system when it was destroyed by the sun."

Comet deaths do not often require a direct collision with the sun. Just as in the case of this comet, comets often die when they pass in very close proximity to the sun, where they would disintegrate as a result of exposure to heat and gravitational forces.

Among the most known of sungrazer comets are the Kreutz sungrazers, which are fragments of a giant comet that broke up into smaller pieces when it got too close to the sun thousands of years ago. The comet is believed to have broken up into fragments after the ice that bound it together evaporated when the object got too close to the sun.


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