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Crystal Formation
Crystal Formation
6/5/09
NASA
 
Year 2009
Crystal Formation
Crystal Formation
6/5/09
NASA
 
Year 2009
Jupiter's Main and Gossamer Ring Structures
Jupiter's Main and Goss...
9/15/98
NASA/JPL-Caltech
 
Year 1998
Stardust spacecraft
Stardust spacecraft
NASA/JPL-Caltech
 
Planets May leave Track...
 
Jupiter-Family Comets
 
Birth of an Earth-like ...
 
Evidence for Strange St...
 
Dark Globule in IC 1396
 
Dark Globule in IC 1396
 
Dark Globule in IC 1396
 
Fomalhaut
 
Fomalhaut
 
Fomalhaut
 
Fomalhaut
 
Fomalhaut
 
Riding a Trail of Debri...
 
The View from Within AU...
 
Planets Point to Dust
 
Ingredients of a Comet
 
Sowing the Seeds of Pla...
 
Comet 'Bites the Dust' ...
 
How To Make Comet Soup
 
Alien Sunset
 
Solar System with Snug ...
 
Water Vapor & Particles Over Enceladus
Water Vapor & Particles...
Water Vapor & Particles...
August 30, 2005
 
Media Type Image
Giotto
Giotto
Image
 
Bradfield's Plunge
Bradfield's Plunge
Image
 
Comets in Space
Comets in Space
Image
Ashley
 
Comets
Comets
Image
Misty
 
The Eagle Nebula
The Eagle Nebula
Deep Space Studies
04/01/1995
NASA, Jeff Hester and P...
 
NASA Center Hubble Space Telescope Center
The very bright object in the upper left edge of our LASCO coronagraph image is comet C/2006 P1 (Comet McNaught). It was discovered on August 7th, 2006 by the hugely successful comet discoverer Rob McNaught. Then the comet was a very faint object, but it brightened considerably as it approached the Sun - to within just 0.17 astronomical units (the average distance between the Earth and Sun is about 150 million kilometers). As seen here (January 12, 2007) it is probably at its brightest because it is at or near perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun. This is probably the brightest comet SOHO has observed in its 11 years. Over the next several days its orbit will carry it down through our field of view in almost a vertical path [ http://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/2007_01_08/C2006P1_C3_full.gif ]. So this is just a teaser for more images and movies to come. You can follow its progress on the SOHO Hot Shots page for this comet here [ http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/2007_01_08/ ]. Scientists are particularly interested in how its elongated ion tail will react to magnetic forces emanating from the Sun. The wide stretches of light to the sides of the comet are an aberration caused by the comet's brightness overwhelming the capabilities of our CCD imager. The smaller bright object below the Sun is Mercury. [ http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/pickoftheweek/old/12jan2007/Johansen1.jpg ] It should be noted that countless skywatchers around the world have been excitedly trying to catch a view of this comet at sunrises and sunsets. And for good reason: it has become one of the brightest comets of the last century. For a short time (Jan. 13 - 15 or so) we believe the only way that anyone can observe the comet is through SOHO. As it gets further from the Sun in late January, observers mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, will get to see if it has brightened or not since its solar passage. No one really knows how that will turn out. The photo below, taken by Roger Johansen of Norway on January 6, 2007, shows the comet somewhat before it reached its greatest levels of brightness.
The very bright object ...<a target="_blank" href="http://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/2007_01_08/C2006P1_C3_full.gif"></a><a target="_blank" href="http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/2007_01_08/"></a><a target="_blank" href="http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/pickoftheweek/old/12jan2007/Johansen1.jpg"></a>
Image
 
Description The very bright object in the upper left edge of our LASCO coronagraph image is comet C/2006 P1 (Comet McNaught). It was discovered on August 7th, 2006 by the hugely successful comet discoverer Rob McNaught. Then the comet was a very faint object, but it brightened considerably as it approached the Sun - to within just 0.17 astronomical units (the average distance between the Earth and Sun is about 150 million kilometers). As seen here (January 12, 2007) it is probably at its brightest because it is at or near perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun. This is probably the brightest comet SOHO has observed in its 11 years. Over the next several days its orbit will carry it down through our field of view in almost a vertical path [ http://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/2007_01_08/C2006P1_C3_full.gif ]. So this is just a teaser for more images and movies to come. You can follow its progress on the SOHO Hot Shots page for this comet here [ http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/2007_01_08/ ]. Scientists are particularly interested in how its elongated ion tail will react to magnetic forces emanating from the Sun. The wide stretches of light to the sides of the comet are an aberration caused by the comet's brightness overwhelming the capabilities of our CCD imager. The smaller bright object below the Sun is Mercury. [ http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/pickoftheweek/old/12jan2007/Johansen1.jpg ] It should be noted that countless skywatchers around the world have been excitedly trying to catch a view of this comet at sunrises and sunsets. And for good reason: it has become one of the brightest comets of the last century. For a short time (Jan. 13 - 15 or so) we believe the only way that anyone can observe the comet is through SOHO. As it gets further from the Sun in late January, observers mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, will get to see if it has brightened or not since its solar passage. No one really knows how that will turn out. The photo below, taken by Roger Johansen of Norway on January 6, 2007, shows the comet somewhat before it reached its greatest levels of brightness.
We last saw Comet Machholz as a bright comet streaking past the Sun on Jan. 8, 2002 (see Hotshot from 2002 [ http://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/2002_01_08/ ]). Well, guess what! It's back! After over five years of swinging through its elliptical orbit out in space, the same comet has returned. Though not as bright as it appeared last time around, it is hard to miss as it rises from the lower left in our LASCO C3 coronagraph's field of view. Note that the comet's tail always angles away from the Sun as it responds to the push of the solar wind. Comets are very old balls of ice and dust that fly around our solar system and beyond. Because it is so close to the Sun, SOHO has the best seat in the house for observing it.
We last saw Comet Machh...<a target="_blank" href="http://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/2002_01_08/"></a>
Image
 
Description We last saw Comet Machholz as a bright comet streaking past the Sun on Jan. 8, 2002 (see Hotshot from 2002 [ http://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/2002_01_08/ ]). Well, guess what! It's back! After over five years of swinging through its elliptical orbit out in space, the same comet has returned. Though not as bright as it appeared last time around, it is hard to miss as it rises from the lower left in our LASCO C3 coronagraph's field of view. Note that the comet's tail always angles away from the Sun as it responds to the push of the solar wind. Comets are very old balls of ice and dust that fly around our solar system and beyond. Because it is so close to the Sun, SOHO has the best seat in the house for observing it.
A relatively small comet appeared in the lower left area of the field of view of SOHO's C3 coronagraph instrument on February 6, 2007 and streaked right towards the Sun. We call these "sungrazer" comets. It most likely belonged to the Kreutz comet group. Kreutz comets are a family of comets that we often spot passing near the Sun. The members of the Kreutz group are believed to have all originated as part of the same parent comet that broke up in the past near perihelion (the closest approach to the Sun). This comet seems to disappear as it approaches the Sun. It is quite possible that heat from the Sun caused it to vaporize. Using SOHO images, amateur comet hunters are able to detect these fairly frequently. Over 1,200 comets have been discovered by SOHO.
A relatively small come...
 
Description A relatively small comet appeared in the lower left area of the field of view of SOHO's C3 coronagraph instrument on February 6, 2007 and streaked right towards the Sun. We call these "sungrazer" comets. It most likely belonged to the Kreutz comet group. Kreutz comets are a family of comets that we often spot passing near the Sun. The members of the Kreutz group are believed to have all originated as part of the same parent comet that broke up in the past near perihelion (the closest approach to the Sun). This comet seems to disappear as it approaches the Sun. It is quite possible that heat from the Sun caused it to vaporize. Using SOHO images, amateur comet hunters are able to detect these fairly frequently. Over 1,200 comets have been discovered by SOHO.
SOHO had a ring-side seat to watch as a sun-grazing comet swept by the Sun on June 8, 2007. With its tail stretching far out behind it, it was one of the brightest sun-grazers that we have seen. This one belongs to the Kreutz family of comets, thought to belong to a much larger comet that broke up some 2,000 years ago These groups are the result of a much larger comet that broke up some 2,000 years ago during its perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) passage. By Kreutz standards, this one is quite bright, since they are often very small! This comet was discovered by Shihong Yuan. So far SOHO has observed over 1,300 comets.
SOHO had a ring-side se...
Image
 
Description SOHO had a ring-side seat to watch as a sun-grazing comet swept by the Sun on June 8, 2007. With its tail stretching far out behind it, it was one of the brightest sun-grazers that we have seen. This one belongs to the Kreutz family of comets, thought to belong to a much larger comet that broke up some 2,000 years ago These groups are the result of a much larger comet that broke up some 2,000 years ago during its perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) passage. By Kreutz standards, this one is quite bright, since they are often very small! This comet was discovered by Shihong Yuan. So far SOHO has observed over 1,300 comets.
Just like its "cousin" nine days ago, yet another small comet appeared in the lower left area of the field of view of SOHO's C3 coronagraph instrument (February 14-15, 2007 and streaked right towards the Sun. This "sungrazer" comet followed almost exactly the same trajectory as the comet observed on Feb. 6. They both most likely belonged to the Kreutz comet group. Kreutz comets are a family of comets that we often spot passing near the Sun. The members of the Kreutz group are believed to have all originated as part of the same parent comet that broke up in the past near perihelion (the closest approach to the Sun). In this case, due to a day long data gap in these images, we do not get to follow it into the Sun, but it is a fair assumption that it too was vaporized as it got too close. This comet is SOHO-1270 and was discovered by Hua Su (China) -- the third (almost second) most successful SOHO comet hunter with approx 140 comet finds! Some of you may not know that amateur comet hunters using the Internet have discovered about 75% of the SOHO comets.
Just like its "cousin" ...
Image
 
Description Just like its "cousin" nine days ago, yet another small comet appeared in the lower left area of the field of view of SOHO's C3 coronagraph instrument (February 14-15, 2007 and streaked right towards the Sun. This "sungrazer" comet followed almost exactly the same trajectory as the comet observed on Feb. 6. They both most likely belonged to the Kreutz comet group. Kreutz comets are a family of comets that we often spot passing near the Sun. The members of the Kreutz group are believed to have all originated as part of the same parent comet that broke up in the past near perihelion (the closest approach to the Sun). In this case, due to a day long data gap in these images, we do not get to follow it into the Sun, but it is a fair assumption that it too was vaporized as it got too close. This comet is SOHO-1270 and was discovered by Hua Su (China) -- the third (almost second) most successful SOHO comet hunter with approx 140 comet finds! Some of you may not know that amateur comet hunters using the Internet have discovered about 75% of the SOHO comets.
Series of LASCO C3 images showing two comets approaching the Sun. The time period covers about 4 hours. They do not reappear on the other side.
Series of LASCO C3 imag...
Image
 
Description Series of LASCO C3 images showing two comets approaching the Sun. The time period covers about 4 hours. They do not reappear on the other side.
Observation of the shadow of Comet Hale-Bopp by SWAN. Although most of the hydrogen atoms in the Solar System blow in from interste llar space, comets are surrounded by large hydrogen clouds of their own. When co met Hale-Bopp flew near the Sun parading its long tail in 1997, SOHO was already in orbit. In SWAN observations the scientists have now spotted a remarkable fea ture - never before seen by astronomers - the elongated shadow, more than 150 mi es long, of a comet projected on the sky beyond the comet.
Observation of the shad...
Image
 
Description Observation of the shadow of Comet Hale-Bopp by SWAN. Although most of the hydrogen atoms in the Solar System blow in from interste llar space, comets are surrounded by large hydrogen clouds of their own. When co met Hale-Bopp flew near the Sun parading its long tail in 1997, SOHO was already in orbit. In SWAN observations the scientists have now spotted a remarkable fea ture - never before seen by astronomers - the elongated shadow, more than 150 mi es long, of a comet projected on the sky beyond the comet.
Bright coronal mass ejection (CME) with an enormous erupting prominence as recorded by the LASCO C2 coronagraph onboard SOHO on 2 June 1998 at 13:31 UT. The prominence eruption is also visible in SOHO EIT images (cf. http://umbra.nascom.nasa.gov/comets/SOHO_sungrazers.html).
Bright coronal mass eje...
Image
 
Description Bright coronal mass ejection (CME) with an enormous erupting prominence as recorded by the LASCO C2 coronagraph onboard SOHO on 2 June 1998 at 13:31 UT. The prominence eruption is also visible in SOHO EIT images (cf. http://umbra.nascom.nasa.gov/comets/SOHO_sungrazers.html).
Composite of: - EIT EUV image taken in the Fe XV line at 284A showing the corona above the disk at a temperature of about 2-2.5 million K (innermost image) - UVCS image showing the Sun's outer atmosphere as it appears in ultraviolet light emitted by electrically charged oxygen (O VI) flowing away from the Sun to form the solar wind (middle region), and - Image of the extended whight light corona as recorded by the outer LASCO coragraph (C3) on 23 December 1996. The field of view of this instrument encompasses 32 diameters of the Sun. To put this in perspective, the diameter of this image is 45 million kilometers at the distance of the Sun, or half of the diameter of the orbit of Mercury. During that time of the year, the Sun is located in the constellation Sagittarius. The center of the Milky Way is visible, as well as the dark interstellar dust rift, which stretches from the south to the north. Three prominent streamers can be seen (two at the West and one at the East limb). This image also shows Comet SOHO-6 (elongated streak at about 7:30 hours), one of several tens of sun-grazing comets discovered so far by LASCO. It eventually plunged into the Sun.
Composite of: - EIT EUV...
Image
 
Description Composite of: - EIT EUV image taken in the Fe XV line at 284A showing the corona above the disk at a temperature of about 2-2.5 million K (innermost image) - UVCS image showing the Sun's outer atmosphere as it appears in ultraviolet light emitted by electrically charged oxygen (O VI) flowing away from the Sun to form the solar wind (middle region), and - Image of the extended whight light corona as recorded by the outer LASCO coragraph (C3) on 23 December 1996. The field of view of this instrument encompasses 32 diameters of the Sun. To put this in perspective, the diameter of this image is 45 million kilometers at the distance of the Sun, or half of the diameter of the orbit of Mercury. During that time of the year, the Sun is located in the constellation Sagittarius. The center of the Milky Way is visible, as well as the dark interstellar dust rift, which stretches from the south to the north. Three prominent streamers can be seen (two at the West and one at the East limb). This image also shows Comet SOHO-6 (elongated streak at about 7:30 hours), one of several tens of sun-grazing comets discovered so far by LASCO. It eventually plunged into the Sun.
SOHO SPACECRAFT SEES TWO COMETS PLUNGE INTO SUN In a rare celestial spectacle, two comets have been observed plunging into the Sun's atmosphere in close succession, on June 1 and 2. This unusual event on Earth's own star was followed on June 2 by a likely unrelated but also dramatic ejection of solar gas and magnetic fields on the southwest (or lower right) limb of the Sun (see ....). The observations of the comets and the large erupting prominence were made by the LASCO coronagraph on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft. Science instruments on SOHO have discovered more than 50 comets, including many so-called sun grazers, but none in such close succession.
SOHO SPACECRAFT SEES TW...
Image
 
Description SOHO SPACECRAFT SEES TWO COMETS PLUNGE INTO SUN In a rare celestial spectacle, two comets have been observed plunging into the Sun's atmosphere in close succession, on June 1 and 2. This unusual event on Earth's own star was followed on June 2 by a likely unrelated but also dramatic ejection of solar gas and magnetic fields on the southwest (or lower right) limb of the Sun (see ....). The observations of the comets and the large erupting prominence were made by the LASCO coronagraph on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft. Science instruments on SOHO have discovered more than 50 comets, including many so-called sun grazers, but none in such close succession.
A huge cloud of hydrogen surrounded Comet Hale-Bopp when it neared the Sun in the spring of 1997. Ultraviolet light, charted by the SWAN instrument on the SOHO spacecraft, revealed a cloud 100 million kilometres wide and diminishing in intensity outwards (contour lines). It far exceeded the great comet's visible tail (inset photograph). Although generated by a comet nucleus perhaps 40 kilometres in diameter, the hydrogen cloud was 70 times wider than the Sun itself (yellow circle to scale) and ten times wider than the hydrogen cloud of Comet Hyakutake observed by SWAN on SOHO in 1996. Solar rays broke up water vapour released from the comet by the warmth of the Sun. The resulting hydrogen atoms shone by ultraviolet light invisible from the Earth's surface. Even a satellite's view of the Hale- Bopp cloud would be spoiled by hydrogen around the Earth. Stationed 1.5 million kilometres out in space, SOHO had a clear view. SWAN is the brainchild of Jean-Loup Bertaux and colleagues at the Service d'A[e/]ronomie du CNRS (France) and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Tuned to see hydrogen, SWAN scans the sky and studies the solar wind's effect on hydrogen atoms coming from interstellar space. Comets reveal themselves as local sources of hydrogen. With SWAN's maps, Michael Combi of the University of Michigan studies gas outflow from comets. He also uses the Hubble Space Telescope, but that instrument cannot safely look at comets near the Sun. The unique SWAN observations of Comet Hale-Bopp imply that the outflow of water vapour peaked at almost 50 million tonnes a day. Credits: Main image: SOHO (ESA & NASA) and SWAN Consortium Inset photo of comet: Dennis di Cicco and Sky & Telescope
A huge cloud of hydroge...
Image
 
Description A huge cloud of hydrogen surrounded Comet Hale-Bopp when it neared the Sun in the spring of 1997. Ultraviolet light, charted by the SWAN instrument on the SOHO spacecraft, revealed a cloud 100 million kilometres wide and diminishing in intensity outwards (contour lines). It far exceeded the great comet's visible tail (inset photograph). Although generated by a comet nucleus perhaps 40 kilometres in diameter, the hydrogen cloud was 70 times wider than the Sun itself (yellow circle to scale) and ten times wider than the hydrogen cloud of Comet Hyakutake observed by SWAN on SOHO in 1996. Solar rays broke up water vapour released from the comet by the warmth of the Sun. The resulting hydrogen atoms shone by ultraviolet light invisible from the Earth's surface. Even a satellite's view of the Hale- Bopp cloud would be spoiled by hydrogen around the Earth. Stationed 1.5 million kilometres out in space, SOHO had a clear view. SWAN is the brainchild of Jean-Loup Bertaux and colleagues at the Service d'A[e/]ronomie du CNRS (France) and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Tuned to see hydrogen, SWAN scans the sky and studies the solar wind's effect on hydrogen atoms coming from interstellar space. Comets reveal themselves as local sources of hydrogen. With SWAN's maps, Michael Combi of the University of Michigan studies gas outflow from comets. He also uses the Hubble Space Telescope, but that instrument cannot safely look at comets near the Sun. The unique SWAN observations of Comet Hale-Bopp imply that the outflow of water vapour peaked at almost 50 million tonnes a day. Credits: Main image: SOHO (ESA & NASA) and SWAN Consortium Inset photo of comet: Dennis di Cicco and Sky & Telescope
The LASCO C2 frame was selected to show Comet SOHO-6, one of numerous sungrazing comets discovered by LASCO, as its head enters the equatorial solar wind region. It eventually plunged into the Sun. This image of the solar corona on 23 December 1996 also shows the inner streamer belt along the Sun's equator, where the low latitude solar wind originates and is accelerated. Over the polar regions, one sees the polar plumes all the way out to the edge of the field of view. The field of view of this coronagraph encompasses 8.4 million kilometers (5.25 million miles) of the inner heliosphere.
The LASCO C2 frame was ...
Image
 
Description The LASCO C2 frame was selected to show Comet SOHO-6, one of numerous sungrazing comets discovered by LASCO, as its head enters the equatorial solar wind region. It eventually plunged into the Sun. This image of the solar corona on 23 December 1996 also shows the inner streamer belt along the Sun's equator, where the low latitude solar wind originates and is accelerated. Over the polar regions, one sees the polar plumes all the way out to the edge of the field of view. The field of view of this coronagraph encompasses 8.4 million kilometers (5.25 million miles) of the inner heliosphere.
AC88-0595
AC88-0595
10/7/88
NASA/Ames Research Cent...
 
Year 1988
Hubble Zooms In on Heart of Mystery Comet
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Galaxy NGC 4881 and the Coma Cluster
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Hubble Space Telescope Observations of Neptune
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