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Sun-diving comets!

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  1. Jan 21, 2012 #1

    Astronuc

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    Staff: Mentor

    Comet's Death Dive Into Sun Seen in Detail for 1st Time
    http://www.space.com/14288-sungrazing-comet-death-dive-sun-observed.html
    by Charles Q. Choi, SPACE.com Contributor
    Date: 19 January 2012

    I was surprised to learn that sun-diving comets are common. I guess in the past, sun-diving comets simply disappeared, i.e., we knew they approached the sun, but did not reappear.

    Now a single comet is an insignificant amount of mass compared to the sun, but I wonder how many comets the sun has collected over the eons, and how much of the carbon, oxygen in the sun has been contributed by comets.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 23, 2012 #2
    Cool. Maybe next time when they see a comets heading straight towards the sun, they can focus the cameras on the impact
     
  4. Jan 23, 2012 #3

    Astronuc

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    Back in May 2011, another comet apparently got close to - or hit - the sun.

    http://www.space.com/11663-comet-hits-sun-solar-explosion.html

    These comets belong to the Kreutz family.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kreutz_Sungrazers

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111213165028.htm

    On the origin of the Kreutz family of sun-grazing comets (paper from 1967)
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1967BAICz..18..198S


    Apparently many graze the sun, but some hit it. Ostensibly, this happens with other stars.
     
  5. Feb 17, 2012 #4

    Astronuc

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    http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=124915541
    Comet Lovejoy Dives Toward the Sun

    NOTE: This video loops 3 times. An instrument on the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) adjusted its cameras in order to watch the trajectory of Comet Lovejoy. . . . . The movie from SDO was made the evening of Dec 15, 2011 and shows Comet Lovejoy moving in toward the sun.
     
  6. Feb 17, 2012 #5

    Dotini

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    The poor little thing, it lost its tail and wriggled excitedly as it plunged through the million K solar corona - but fearlessly, Lovejoy survived to grow a spectacular new tail on the other side of the sun. Whew!

    What a spectacular show nature puts on for us when we have the instruments to observe it. I am grateful to NASA, and consider my tax well-spent in this case.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Steve
     
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