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NASA Space Science

Comet-Sun Impact Caught On Video 61

Posted by timothy
from the comet-denies-responsibility dept.
jomegat writes "NASA has released footage captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) showing a comet slamming into the surface of the sun. The impact created a huge splash as seen on the video, but the impact at the surface was blocked by an occluding disk that allows the SDO to image the sun's corona. It's still very impressive though!"
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Comet-Sun Impact Caught On Video

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  • Something interesting, scientific, and one no one can uselessly argue about :D Feels fresh slashdot!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Some asshat on facebook complained that the sun doesn't have a surface, so ya know that nullifies your statement right there.

      • Re:Finally!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jc42 (318812) on Friday July 08, 2011 @06:49PM (#36701152) Homepage Journal

        Some asshat on facebook complained that the sun doesn't have a surface, ...

        Similarly, if you look closely enough at what appears to be your (skin) surface, you'll find that in reality it's nothing more substantive than a fuzzy cloud of electrons. Small neutral particles of about the same size as the electrons (neutrons, neutrinos, etc.) have no problem with this "surface", and pass through it as if it didn't exist.

        Whether something has a "surface" depends a lot on your definition of the term.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Similarly, if you look closely enough at what appears to be your (skin) surface, you'll find that in reality it's nothing more substantive than a fuzzy cloud of electrons. Small neutral particles of about the same size as the electrons (neutrons, neutrinos, etc.) have no problem with this "surface", and pass through it as if it didn't exist.

          I knew that.

        • Re:Finally!!! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by xkuehn (2202854) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @10:13AM (#36704536)

          Small neutral particles of about the same size as the electrons (neutrons, neutrinos, etc.)

          Let us do a quick Google search on that.

          Neutrinos and electrons are regarded as fundamental particles with zero volume -- which may not be correct -- (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elementary_particle [wikipedia.org]), so they would have the same size. Neutrons have measurable volume (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron [wikipedia.org]), so "about the same" is entirely wrong.

          If we suppose you mean mass, then we get a rest mass of about 10^-30 kg for the electron and at most 10^-36 kg for the neutrino (http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/32861 [physicsworld.com]) and around 10^-27 kg for the neutron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron [wikipedia.org]), making you off by many orders of magnitude.

          I'm sorry. I just couldn't resist your sig.

      • by arisvega (1414195)

        complained that the sun doesn't have a surface

        Oh, c'mon, it does have a surface- granted, no sharp boundaries are seen, and you will probably not hear a glass shattering sound when something impacts, but stilldensity between below and above the photosphere is orders of magnitude appart.

    • by arisvega (1414195)
      Yea yea, we all saw the tweet
  • Don't they mean atmosphere?

    I'm pretty sure that the notion of surface only applies to the solid and liquid states of matter. The sun has neither.

    • oh gawd, I was wrong! lol
      • by jc42 (318812)
        So let this be a lesson to you. Don't challenge scientists (real or wannabe) by saying that they can't find a way to disagree. Scientists are experts at disagreeing with each other; it's a basic part of what they do. Any competent scientist can come up with several incompatible "explanations" of any phenomenon. (The important part is that they can also apply for grants to test all the explanations. ;-)
    • by Opyros (1153335)
      Even an abstract geometrical solid such as a cylinder or a tetrahedron has a "surface"; I don't see why the Sun can't also.
    • Re:Surface? (Score:5, Informative)

      by GumphMaster (772693) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @02:00AM (#36702832)

      The term "surface" when used in relation to the Sun is used to mean the place from which the majority of photons we see are emitted; known as the photosphere. That surface is defined to be at optical depth 2/3 (a photon, on average, escapes without scattering off a particle). It is a fuzzy boundary, varying in depth with wavelength of light, but it is a small range in comparison to the size of a star.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Friday July 08, 2011 @06:36PM (#36701034)

    The "huge splash" is an unrelated coronal mass ejection. There is no actual splash, or "collision" in the sense we would imagine it. Which should be obvious when you stop to think about it, because the Sun is really freaking hot. The comet evaporated when it got too close.

    Still, a pretty cool video. It's always cool to see how tiny things look when they get close to the Sun. In the first video, you'll probably have to watch it a few times before you even notice the comet.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      You'd think the submitter would have figured out they were unrelated when the CME happened before the comet got near the sun....

    • by onepoint (301486)

      You are correct, it took about 10 viewings before I even realized that it's vaporizing.

      I was hoping for more but I will say this, It's a first. and I hope we capture more of them.

    • Well, considering the size of the sun (not to mention the 'comet') it is quite big.
      Though I am not geek enough to know much about astrophysics, I wonder what would happen if that splash would be oriented at our little blue planet?

      But I find the size of the 'comet' even more frightening. That thing must have been huge and if they are floating around in our star system, that is quite scary.

    • by Kuruk (631552)
      Kinda of like Fly vs Car windscreen.

      Game over.
  • The summary is almost entirely unrelated to actual page being linked to. No impact... no "huge splash".

    Get rid of timothy, Slashdot. He's worthless.

  • When I follow that link and try to download the video, I get a message saying "The player cannot load the requested video. The player does not have permission. Message ID: UVP05004".

    This is with several different browsers (FF, Safari, Opera) on my Macbook Pro. Anyone know how to make it work?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The article makes no mention of a surface impact. Just that the comet passes so close to the sun that it evaporates.

  • The comet crashed, it's all Obama's fault! :D

    • See?! It's global warming!

      That's not related to climates!

      The TSA would have never prevented a comet from killing Americans!

      We wouldn't have known about it without waterboarding or wiretaps!

      News of the World is just trying to fabricate "news" again.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Are there any images of this from SOHO or any other Sun inspecting satellites?

    • by oneiros27 (46144)

      Um ... 'LASCO' is the coronograph package on SOHO.

      Since the launch of SDO, as AIA has a 12 second cadence for each of its EUV channels, EIT (the EUV full disk telescopes on SOHO) have been turned down to a minimal cadence (6hrs) so there's a long-term record from the same instrument, but there aren't any science planners for it anymore.

      So, to answer the question -- yes.

      (Note -- I work for the Solar Data Analysis Center, the primary U.S. archive for SOHO data, and I'm in the same hallway as the remaining ful

  • Huge splash? (Score:4, Informative)

    by oneiros27 (46144) on Friday July 08, 2011 @07:31PM (#36701430) Homepage

    The closest thing I've seen to a 'splash' was during the June 7th CME, where a significant amount of the eruption didn't escape the sun's gravity:

    http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/potw.php?v=item&id=54 [nasa.gov]

    For the comet, though ... no splash. And they haven't finished the final processing of the last bit of the comet's track across the sun, so I haven't seen it 'evaporate' as others have mentioned.

    (Disclaimer: I'm not a solar physicist, but I work for the Solar Data Analysis Center, and on the distribution systems for SDO data)

    • by Bazer (760541)
      That is spectacular! The scale is just mind-boggling! I can't begin to imagine what would it be like if we were right above it. Thank you for sharing. I think I need to lie down.
  • Don't they know the little red light means the camera is on?

  • Where can I just get a live feed of the SOHO coronograph camera?

  • And there is more where that came from!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fatality. Sun wins.

  • by Chardansearavitriol (1946886) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @07:37AM (#36703724)
    We learned in Final Fantasy 7 that a comet impacting the sun would cause a supernova. Which I assure you we would have noticed.
  • the impact at the surface was blocked by an occluding disk

    Damn. The alien spacecraft ejected and escaped before impact. Now we'll never find them.

  • Anyone notice how large that comet was? Earth sized? 100 earth stretch across the suns surface.
    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      We don't see the comet itself in the video, just its tail. I'd imagine that the comet would produce a rather large tail close to the sun due to violent outgassing, plus comet comas/tails tend to be much larger than the comet itself (notably, in 2007 17P/Holmes briefly had a coma that appeared to be larger than the sun, with an actual diameter larger than the distance between Earth and the Moon; the comet itself was nowhere near as large as that).
  • what happens when a comet hits the sun dead on, are there repercussions that can be felt everywhere, extra solar sprays etc...that would maybe affect us here on earth???

    • No, the sun is a very, very large system that is much too powerful to be perturbed in a meaningful way by a collision of that size.

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