NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft has captured two “sungrazer” comets getting swallowed by the sun. Over 4000 Kreutz fragments fell into the Sun.
NASA has recently shared footage of two comets falling steeply into the Sun on Saturday. The coronagraph has been captured by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft, which was launched by NASA and the European Space Agency in 1995. The footage shows the two “Kreutz sungrazer” comets heading towards the sun after which they were gobbled up by the giant star. However, a closer look at the coronagraph revealed that the comet was followed by a smaller companion. Karl Battams of the US Naval Research Lab shared the same via a tweet. He wrote, “Yesterday’s bright comet turned out to have a smaller, leading companion. This isn’t particularly uncommon — I’d estimate that at least 30% of the really bright sungrazers we see in SOHO/LASCO end up having a small leading or trailing companion.”
Weather. com has shared that the comets are believed to have been vaporised by the scorching temperatures of the sun which reach up to 5,778 K, or 9,941°F.
Kreutz is a group of comets with a very similar orbit falling into the sun. They all are believed to have come from a progenitor comet that broke up, forming thousands of smaller fragment comets.
“What makes Kreutz comets unusual is that they all have the same (or very close) orbit, so we think they are fragments of a parent comet that previously disrupted,” Tabare Gallardo, an astronomer at the Universidad de la República in Uruguay, told Newsweek.
Since, this comet is believed to be the progenitor of the Kreutz sungrazers, scientists estimate that this comet may have had a diameter of over 75 miles.
After its launch in 1995, SOHO has watched more than 4000 Kreutz fragments falling into the Sun.
Other bright comets that have been associated with Kreutz sungrazers include the Great Comet of 1843, the Great Comet of 1882 and X/1106 C1.