STEREO - Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory
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CME with a Bonus


The Sun unleashed a good-sized coronal mass ejection (CME) that roared out into space (May 20-21, 2011) as the STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft observed. Soon after, as a bonus visual, a sun-grazing comet came streaking in (from the right) heading for the Sun. Its tail could be seen elongating substantially as it approached the Sun and apparently disintegrated. Judging by its trajectory, this comet likely belonged to the Kreutz family of comets, the residual pieces of a much larger comet that broke up long ago. The Sun (represented by a white circle) is blocked out by an occulting disk (central red circle) so that fainter structures can be seen in the Sun?s outer corona.

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