House-sized Sungrazer comet enters LASCO C3 view


A bright sungrazing comet has entered SOHO/LASCO C3 camera view. While this is SOHO's approximately 3 687th comet discovery, it's only the 7th Sungrazer discovered this year, suggesting we're currently seeing a low-density part of the Kreutz stream.

"House-sized ball of rock and ice is about to be vaporized in several million-degree furnace, while traveling at 0.3% light speed," said astrophysicist Karl Battams of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C.

"This should turn out to be a pretty bright comet. I'm guessing it'll peak around mag 4, but it could surprise us," he said.

While this is SOHO's approximately 3 687th comet discovery, it's only the 7th Sungrazer discovered this year, which is much less than usual.

"Seems we're currently seeing a low-density part of the 'Kreutz stream', which is basically a vast debris trail thru space. So perhaps no surprise that parts of it might be gappy," Battams said.

Featured image credit: ESA/NASA SOHO/LASCO C3, Karl Battams


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