Thursday, September 25, 2008

Comet found - finally! - in special picture of 1 August total solar eclipse

It's extremely rare that a comet close to the Sun is spotted during a total eclipse of the Sun - it happened in 1882, when the comet was indeed close to the Sun (as a Kreutz Sungrazer), and in 1948. And in 2008: The SOHO spacecraft had already discovered and tracked the - this time pretty faint - comet, and observers of the eclipse were alerted the day before (if they still got e-mail whereever they were). Searches for this comet in even the best wide-angle images of the eclipse have been in vain, however - until now: in the spectacular wide-field composite already mentioned not only a lot of stars are visible but the comet has been identified! Looking just like a star, but the community is celebrating.

In other comet news comet 205P/Giacobini - recently recovered after 111 years and 16 perihelia in which it was not seen - has actually broken into at least 3 parts: The breakup may actually be the cause of the recovery because it increased the comet's brightness significantly. Here are an image of a fragment and animations; smaller optics don't show the smaller fragments. • Also a wide-field view of comet Lulin.

In news on other topics fireballs over the British Isles have been sighted. • The old nova GK Per is in outburst, having risen to 12 from the normal 13 mag. • And the small cycle 24 sunspot group, perhaps celebrated prematurely, is already gone again. While the Ulysses spacecraft is actually doing better than reported!

1 comment:

cing said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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