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!

Last modified January 31, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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