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Friday, October 1, 2021

CONTEXT: Solar Observation Spacecraft Discover Sun-Grazing Comets

Prior to the advent of space-based solar observatories, a multitude of small comets plunged in from the outer solar system and closely approached the Sun without being observed—astronomers may have suspected they existed, but there was no way to see them in the glare of the Sun. After the launch of the SOHO spacecraft in 1995 and successors since then, more than four thousand sungrazing comets have been observed, most of which disintegrate when they pass close to the Sun and do not emerge from their perihelion passage. Many of these are of the Kreutz sungrazer family, which are believed to have originated from a single large comet which broke up when passing near the Sun several centuries ago.

Posted at October 1, 2021 10:38