Comet Kudo-Fujikawa as seen by SOHO.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy NASA
SOHO watches comet
News story originally written on January 31, 2003
On January 29, 2003 a comet passed very close to the
Sun. The comet was too close to the Sun to be viewed from Earth; the bright light from the Sun blocked
our view of the comet. However, a spacecraft named SOHO was able to take pictures of the comet.
SOHO has an instrument called a coronagraph, which blocks out the brightest light from the Sun,
allowing it a good view of the comet's closest approach.
Comet Kudo-Fujikawa passed within 28.4 million kilometers (17.7 million miles) of the Sun. That was well inside the
orbit of Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun. Mercury orbits at a distance of
about 58 million kilometers from the Sun.
Several images from SOHO were combined to create this animation
(820K GIF) of the comet passing the Sun; and this high
resolution animation (3.7M GIF). These are large files, and may take a long time to download!
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more
In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible at the same time in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see. You won't want to miss this!...more