December 17, 2011

Lovejoy Lives!

This is the stuff Sy-Fy Channel movies are made of:

On December 14th, newly-found Comet Lovejoy took aim at the sun's corona where temperatures can reach 2 million degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 million degrees Celsius).

Most researchers expected the comet to be completed destroyed, blazing as brightly as Venus in the sky.

But Comet Lovejoy plunged through the sun's corona ... and came out the other side, zipping off into space!

Comet Lovejoy, a large sungrazing comet, officially called C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy), was discovered by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy on Nov. 27.

NASA also created a website providing updates about the comet's pass through the corona, as well as images of the event beamed down by SDO. It can be found here:

And from

Photo: NASA/ SDO

This image, taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows Comet Lovejoy diving through the sun's atmosphere on Dec. 15, 2011. Lovejoy's tail is visible as a faint diagonal smudge to the left of the sun, toward the bottom of the image. The tail points from lower left to upper right. 

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