(meteorobs) SOHO, Comets and the Sun

Thought some of y'all might be interested in the following.....



     In a rare celestial spectacle, two comets have been observed 
plunging into the Sun's atmosphere in close succession, on June 1 
and 2.  This unusual event on Earth's own star was followed on 
June 2 by a likely unrelated but also dramatic ejection of solar 
gas and magnetic fields on the southwest (or lower right) limb of 
the Sun.  

     The observations of the comets and the large erupting 
prominence were made by the LASCO coronagraph on the Solar and 
Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft.  Science instruments 
on SOHO have discovered more than 50 comets, including many so-
called sun grazers, but none in such close succession.  The 
eruption of solar gas was directed away from Earth and does not 
pose a hazard to our planet or orbiting astronauts.  

     Video footage of these intriguing events will be uplinked on 
the NASA TV Video File at 11 a.m. and 3:55 p.m. EDT on Thursday, 
June 4.

     Selected images and an image sequence of the new observations 
can be found on the World Wide Web at the NASA SOHO Website:

       http://umbra.nascom.nasadot gov/comets/SOHO_sungrazers.html

     SOHO is a joint undertaking of NASA and the European Space 
Agency.  Development of the LASCO instrument was coordinated by 
the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC.  Dr. Donald 
Michels of the LASCO science team led the team that observed this 
rare phenomenon.

     NASA Television is carried on GE-2, transponder 9C, 85 
degrees West longitude, vertical polarization, frequency 3880 MHz, 
audio 6.8 Megahertz.