SOHO Spots 2000th Comet

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Christopher K.
Posts: 4335
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

SOHO Spots 2000th Comet

Post by Christopher K. » January 3rd, 2011, 9:01 pm

Having just celebrated its fifteenth anniversary on 2 December, SOHO followed up that milestone with another. On 26 December, it discovered its 2000th comet.

Or more exactly, the 2000th comet has been discovered with the help of the SOHO spacecraft. Over seventy people in eighteen countries have pointed out comets in the SOHO images available to the public. The 1999th and 2000th comets were discovered by Michal Kusiak, an astronomy student at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. He has found over 100 total.

SOHO found 1000 comets during its first ten years of operation, and 1000 more during the next five years. The Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) takes the images that people study to find new comets--though of course the images (with their easily recognizable occulters blocking the Sun's disk) are primarily meant to study the corona.

More information at:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/soho/comet-2000.html

About LASCO:
http://lasco-www.nrl.navy.mil/index.php?p=content/intro

Christopher K.
Posts: 4335
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: SOHO Spots 2000th Comet

Post by Christopher K. » November 26th, 2015, 6:38 pm

And now its 3000 comets! As Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab mentions in the video "3000 Comets for SOHO", the spacecraft was not deployed to be primarily a comet discoverer. However, SOHO's LASCO--the Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph--blocks out the solar disk. This, combined with the fact that SOHO has a large field of view of the Sun, makes it quite easy for SOHO to both see previously known comets and also discover new ones.

"3000 Comets for SOHO" is currently in the third-to-last row of the NASA video archive...
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html

The video's animation color-codes the comets by family...
red, Kreutz group
green, Meyer group
blue, Marsden group
cyan, Kracht group
magenta, Kracht 2 group
yellow, unaffiliated with any family

About the Naval Research Lab:
http://www.nrl.navy.mil/about-nrl/mission/

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