Comet to plunge to flaming death of hot agony in the Sun today

Update: Lovejoy lives! The comet had a near-encounter with the sun, but survived.

From "A newly discovered comet is set to make a death dive into the sun's atmosphere today (Dec. 15), and scientists will have a ringside seat to watch its fiery demise."

How could this story be made any more sci-fi? The comet's name is Lovejoy. Feels like a creepy omen of doom, with all the NDAA and SOPA stuff going on back here on earth today.

Above, the kamikaze comet is the bright streak at the bottom of this image, taken by SOHO’s Large Angle Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) C3 instrument.

SOHO's LASCO instrument is a coronagraph. It blocks out the light from the Sun's disc, creating an artificial eclipse. With the central glare removed, fainter objects closer to the Sun can be seen clearly by the instrument at 0830 GMT Dec. 15, 2011 CREDIT: SOHO/LASCO (ESA/NASA)

It may be visible to the naked eye, from some points on Earth.

Here's more tracking data from NASA. And of COURSE the comet is on Twitter, live-tweeting its own infernal demise.

Here's an animated gif comprised of of images of comet Lovejoy heading towards the sun, taken on Dec. 12 by NASA's STEREO satellites.


    1. It’s a shadow created by the arm that’s holding the occluding disk, which is used to keep the sun from overloading the camera sensor.

    1. I knew someone would beat me to it! 

      I am really looking forward to watching this on some future documentary 

  1. It’s not “creepy omen of doom”, it is rather that now Love&Joy have infected the very source of energy of our vicinity and causing it to radiate those from now on!

  2. Starting at approximately 9 or 10 on 2011-12-14 in that GIF, another moving object appears – can anybody tell what this might be? Actually, it appears to start earlier, but much more faint, close to the end of the 13th…It seems to move relative to the Comet we’re observing…

  3. NASA just Tweeted: Breaking News! Lovejoy lives! The comet Lovejoy has survived it’s journey around the sun to reemerge on the other side.

  4. I suppose they didn’t take the time to determine its location and trajectory carefully enough to realize it wouldn’t actually hit the Sun? I guess they did say it would make a “death dive into the sun’s atmosphere.” The death part was just an educated guess….

    1. Normally, the Sun tears comets apart when they get that close; this was a surprise. What should have happened is the comet swings around the back of the Sun and a loose assembly of dust (gawd, just had to say it that way) and gas would pop around the other side, or just be blown apart and wrap around the Sun as in this SOHO video from October – 

      The result is really the same, though; the Sun’s corona extends  quite a distance out and is generally certain death for comets.
      But not Lovejoy. Yeah, kinda cool.

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