Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
Some comments like it hot.
Presented by science at NASA.
Comets are -- and fragile.
They spend most of their time orbiting through the dark outskirts of the solar system safe from the withering depredations of intense some.
They're natural habitat is the deepest -- Last November amateur astronomer -- -- of -- discovered -- different kind of comment.
The IC fuzz ball he spotted in the sky over his backyard observatory in Australia was heading almost directly for the -- On December 16 less than three weeks after he found it.
Comic love -- would swoop through the sun's atmosphere only 120000.
Kilometers of both the stellar surface.
Astronomers would soon realized a startling fact.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- Terry found -- -- grazer says Carl bottoms of the naval research lab in Washington DC.
It appeared to be as wide as two football fields the biggest such conduct in nearly forty years.
Some grazing comments aren't -- new thing.
In fact the orbiting solar and -- historic observatory.
Watches one fall toward the sun and evaporate every few days.
These frequent kamikaze comets are thought to be splinters of a giant comet that broke apart hundreds of years ago.
Typically -- -- about ten metres across.
And easily be prized by solar heat.
Based on its orbit comic -- was surely a member of the same family.
Except it was 200 meters wide instead of the usual ten.
Astronomers were eager to see the -- disintegrate.
There was little doubt the -- would be destroyed.
When December 16 came however comic love to a -- the -- -- -- it's survive and even flourished.
Images from NASA's solar dynamics observatory shall become -- Paper rising curiously as it entered the sun's atmosphere.
Apparently on the verge of obliteration.
Yet -- -- was still intact when it emerged on the other side.
The -- had lost its tail during the -- transit a temporary setback.
Within hours the -- grew back bigger and brighter than before.
It's fair to say we were dumbfounded.
Says Matthew Knight of the Lowell observatory.
And the Johns Hopkins applied physics lab comic love -- -- must've been much bigger and tougher than we thought.
Only a few days after it left the -- the comets showed up in the morning skies of the Southern Hemisphere.
Observers in Australia.
South America and New Zealand likened it to a -- beaming up from the east before dawn.
The tail wind up parallel to the Milky Way and for a few days made it seem that you lived in -- double Decker galaxy.
Astronauts on the International Space Station also witness the com.
ISS commander Dan Berger who has seen his share of wonders even once flying -- -- through the northern lights on board the space shuttle declared -- club choice the most amazing thing I've ever seen in space.
An armada of spacecraft including -- -- the solar dynamics observatory that's DO.
NASA's twin solar terrestrial relations observatory probes stereo.
Japan's ten noted spacecraft.
And Europe's -- -- two micro satellite recorded the historic event.
We've collected a mountain of -- -- night but there are some things were still having trouble explaining.
For instance what -- love Joyce tailed -- so wildly when it entered the solar corona.
Perhaps it was in the grip of the sun's powerful magnetic field.
What caused love -- to lose its tail inside the sun's atmosphere and then regained it later.
This is one of the biggest mysteries to -- says -- And then there's the ultimate existential puzzle.
How did -- at -- survive at all.
The -- that liked it hot is returning to the outer solar system apparently still intact.
Leaving many mysteries behind.
It'll be back in about 600 years -- night.
Maybe we will have figured them out by then.
To learn more about solar system mysteries hot and cold -- -- science dot NASA.
Filter by section