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SOHO watches comet - Windows to the Universe

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Comet 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. This picture was taken by a spacecraft called SOHO. When the SOHO spacecraft took this picture, we couldn’t see the comet from Earth because the comet was too close to the Sun. SOHO has a special instrument called a coronagraph which blocks the brightest light from the Sun. A coronagraph is a lot like an eclipse in the way it blocks the Sun's light.

Comet Kudo-Fujikawa passed very close to the Sun. For a while it was closer than Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun.

Some pictures from SOHO were put together to make a movie (820K GIF) of the comet passing the Sun. Here is an even better movie (3.7M GIF). These movies are VERY BIG, and may take a long time to download to your computer!


Last modified January 31, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF