Headlines > News > Comet Machholz Approaches the Sun

Comet Machholz Approaches the Sun

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:15 am via: NASA
More share options

Why is Comet Maccholz so depleted of carbon-containing chemicals? Comet 96P/Machholz’s original fame derives from its getting closer to the Sun than any other short period comet — half as close as Mercury — and doing so every five years. To better understand this unusual comet, NASA’s Sun-monitoring SOHO spacecraft tracked the comet during its latest approach to the Sun in October.

The featured image composite shows the tail-enhanced comet swooping past the Sun. The Sun’s bright surface is hidden from view behind a dark occulter, although parts of the Sun’s extended corona are visible. Neighboring stars dot the background. One hypothesis holds that these close solar approaches somehow cause Comet Machholz to shed its carbon, while another hypothesis posits that the comet formed with this composition far away — possibly even in another star system.

Image Credit: NASA, SOHO, LASCO, Barbara Thompson (NASA's GSFC)

Image Credit: NASA, SOHO, LASCO, Barbara Thompson (NASA's GSFC)

No comments
Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this article!
Leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
© 2018 The International Space Fellowship, developed by Gabitasoft Interactive. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use