Friday, December 16, 2011

A Comet Escapes the Sun

NASA video captures comet flying through the Sun:

NASA has captured photographs of a rare occurrence, a comet actually flying through the Sun. And surviving!

Comet Lovejoy is that thin white streak in the photo above, hightailing it out of the Sun's corona, where temperatures are hotter even than a Las Vegas sidewalk in July. Lovejoy is newly-discovered and among a class of comets called Kreutz sungrazers whose immense orbits take them through or near the Sun's surface. The comet, an icy rock with a core only about 660 feet in diameter, was first spotted just a few weeks ago.

When its course was plotted, scientists realized it was headed for a certain fiery demise. So, NASA trained a couple of its satellites on the scene and waited to capture The End. Except they got a celestial surprise.

Here's a brief -- and we do mean brief -- video of the comet emerging from its close encounter of the solar kind.

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