Apr 27, 2000

A Faint Sungrazing Comet -- April 28, 2000

A Faint Sungrazing Comet -- April 28, 2000

The arrows in the lower left of this 4-frame animation of SOHO C3 coronagraph images show a dim speck moving toward the Sun on April 28, 2000. It was later declared comet SOHO-111, a sungrazer that vaporized as it passed over our star.

The bright starlike object near the left hand side of this image is the planet Venus. A coronal mass ejection is billowing away from the Sun near the top of the occulting disk. Numerous streaks and speckles that appear in single frames are noise caused by cosmic rays and charged particles from the Sun striking the spacecraft's CCD camera. Discerning the faint comet amid all this activity is challenging. It's easier when the comet develops a distinctive tail as it nears the Sun, as illustrated in

captured a day later by the C2 coronagraph.