Kissin' Cousin Comet (February 21, 2007)
Hi-res TIF image(1.8M)
Just like its "cousin" nine days ago, yet another small comet appeared in the lower left area of the field of view of SOHO's C3 coronagraph instrument (February 14-15, 2007 and streaked right towards the Sun. This "sungrazer" comet followed almost exactly the same trajectory as the comet observed on Feb. 6. They both most likely belonged to the Kreutz comet group. Kreutz comets are a family of comets that we often spot passing near the Sun. The members of the Kreutz group are believed to have all originated as part of the same parent comet that broke up in the past near perihelion (the closest approach to the Sun). In this case, due to a day long data gap in these images, we do not get to follow it into the Sun, but it is a fair assumption that it too was vaporized as it got too close.
This comet is SOHO-1270 and was discovered by Hua Su (China) -- the third (almost second) most successful SOHO comet hunter with approx 140 comet finds! Some of you may not know that amateur comet hunters using the Internet have discovered about 75% of the SOHO comets.
SOHO began its Weekly Pick some time after sending a weekly image or video clip to the American Museum of Natural History (Rose Center) in New York City. There, the SOHO Weekly Pick is displayed with some annotations on a large plasma display.
If your institution would also like to receive the same Weekly Pick from us for display (usually in Photoshop or QuickTime format), please send your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.