COMET, DELETED: Sungrazing Comet SWAN, which dove into the sun’s atmosphere during the late hours of March 14th, apparently did not survive. In the following 10 hour movie, Comet SWAN enters the solar corona but does not exit again:
Comet SWAN was a Kreutz sungrazer, a fragment of the same ancient comet that produced sungrazing Comet Lovejoy in Dec. 2011. Comet Lovejoy famously survived its brush with the sun and put on a flamboyant show after it emerged from the solar fire. While Comet SWAN was cut from the same cloth, it was a smaller fragment that has completely evaporated.
The CME emerging from the sun’s northwestern limb near the end of the movie was not caused by this tiny comet’s impact. It is just another eruption of active sunspot 1429.
Stay tuned to comet expert Karl Battam’s blog for updates.
SUNSET CONJUNCTION: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. Venus and Jupiter are beaming through the twilight less than 4o apart. Sky watchers of all ages, and species, are enjoying the show:
“I was out last night walking the dogs,” explains photographer Robert Hanelt of Santa Fe, New Mexico. “We just had to stop to admire the planets.”
Observing tip: Try to catch the duo before the sky fades completely black.