STEREO - Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory
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Two for two


Two easy to spot comets appeared to dive into the Sun over about a two-day period (Feb. 22-24, 2011) as seen by STEREO's Behind coronagraph. Both comets followed nearly identical paths from the lower right. The comet was a member of the Kreutz sungrazer family, named after a 19th century German astronomer who studied them in detail. Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a giant comet at least 2000 years ago. Many of these fragments pass so close to the Sun that they evaporate. (The Sun is represented by the white circle and the black disk is the occulting disk used to block out the immediate area around the Sun so we can see fainter structures in the surrounding corona.) A faint coronal mass ejection can be seen bursting out from the Sun after the second comet disappears.

Last Revised: March 19, 2018 15:00:39 UTC
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