Sundiving comet

A comet is diving into the sun today. Discovered on Sept. 29th by a group of four independent comet hunters (M. Kusiak, S. Liwo, B. Zhou and Z. Xu), the icy visitor from the outer solar system is evaporating furiously as it approaches the hot star. SOHO (the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) is monitoring the death plunge.



The doomed comet appears to be a member of the Kreutz family. Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a single giant comet many centuries ago. They get their name from 19th century German astronomer Heinrich Kreutz, who studied them in detail. Several Kreutz fragments pass by the sun and disintegrate every day. Most, measuring less than a few meters across, are too small to see, but occasionally a big fragment like this one attracts attention. (SpaceWeather)




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