Since this is Space Month on Blastr, what better way to celebrate the occasion than by watching the death throes of a speeding comet as it dashes toward our blazing sun? A dramatic video of the daring comet's swift dive into the sun was captured by NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) between Aug. 2 and Aug. 4, with the sungrazing comet blasting toward the sun at nearly 373 miles per second. Just to clock it with a cosmic speedometer, that's an insane 1.34 million miles per hour, making it the fastest object in the solar system just before its spectacular scorching demise. Say a prayer for the dying and have a look.
Officially categorized as Kreutz sungrazers, these sun-loving comets follow 800-year orbits that take them perilously close to our star. They are theorized to be smaller fragments of a larger comet that crumbled into smaller bits thousands of years ago, when it did a suicidal fly-by and its binding ice evaporated. According to astronomers and scientists, this was the brightest sungrazing event in over two decades.
"This comet didn't fall into the sun, but rather whipped around it – or at least, it would have if it had survived its journey," said Sarah Frazier of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. "Like most sungrazing comets, this comet was torn apart and vaporized by the intense forces near the sun."