HomeSpace NewsTelescopes watch the sun bake a comet to death

Telescopes watch the sun bake a comet to death

A comet visiting the sun has disintegrated in front of astronomers’ eyes in a series of unprecedented observations that may help explain why comets orbiting close to the sun seem to disappear. 

The comet, called 323P/SOHO, was discovered in 1999 by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), a NASA/European Space Agency probe that constantly observes the sun. 323P/SOHO is one of the rare near-sun comets, which follow elliptical orbits that take them closer to the sun than the orbit of the solar system‘s innermost planet, Mercury. Theoretical models predict that many such comets exist, but  only a few have been observed to date. The recent observation might explain why. 

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