From the LITD Archives: Final Flight

Originally posted on January 6, 2010. A reminder that our solar system is a dynamic place, where gravity is the rule of the game and there’s rarely a prize for second place.

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On January 3, the European Space Agency’s SOHO solar observatory spacecraft captured images of a comet flying towards the Sun….and then disappearing into it, evaporating in heat of the solar furnace. The video above, taken by the spacecraft’s Heliospheric Imager which monitors the activity of the Sun’s corona, clearly shows the comet’s final moments before it vanishes behind the round screen that blocks out the blinding brightness of the Sun’s disc. (The white circle notes the actual size of the sun behind the disc.)

The bright object at the lower right of the video is Venus.

Credit: SOHO (ESA & NASA)