Crochet, knitting, astronomy & life in general.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Crashing Comets into the Sun

Here's a neat little tidbit: a video off NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) showing a comet crashing into the Sun (or at least approaching it very closely and probably disintegrating) and the coronal mass ejection that follows...

Now, these two events are likely unrelated because comets are so small compared to the sun that they shouldn't have any effect on solar activity, so it's likely just a coincidence that these events occurred together. As Phil Plait from Bad Astronomy explains, the Sun is fairly active right now, with these coronal mass ejections happening all the time. It's also fairly common to see this special class of comets called "sungrazers" go very close to the Sun, sometimes crashing into it. So, if you have two events that are fairly common, chances are that eventually they'll happen at the same time.

Oh, and in case you were thinking that maybe we've finally seen real evidence of alien life, that flying saucer thing in the background is actually the planet Mercury... so no need to worry. You can read more about this event on the SOHO (SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory) website or on the Sungrazing Comets blog.