Comet Makes Pass At Sun, Fails Miserably
Hoho -- rock-blocked! Should've brought along a wingman to distract the corona!
Yesterday, May 12th, a comet, head-over-heels in love with the sun, decided to move in for a kiss (having learned apparently nothing from his brethren that tried the same last year). Unfortunately, the sun swallowed the little bastard alive before burping up a coronal mass ejection. Or does that meant they went all the way?
SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) watched as a fairly bright comet dove towards the Sun in a white streak and was not seen again after its close encounter (May 10-11, 2011)...Interestingly, a coronal mass ejection blasted out to the right just as the comet is approaching the Sun.
Scientists, however, have yet to find a convincing physical connection between sun-grazing comets and coronal mass ejections. In fact, analysis of this CME using images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows that the CME erupted before the comet came close enough to the solar surface to interact with strong magnetic fields.
Fun fact: did you know Icarus was actually trying to touch the sun's tits when his wings melted off? It's true. Don't bother looking it up, but that's exactly what happened. He was hoping to tear off a nipple to use as a flame-shield.
Hit the jump for a shot of the (possibly) resulting coronal mass ejection and a video of the action.
Bye Bye Comet [SOHO]
Thanks to colin, who once threw a rock at the sun for burning him at the beach one time.