More Sundiving COmets

ANOTHER SUNDIVING COMET: Here we go again. Another comet is diving into the sun, the second one this week. Coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) are monitoring the death plunge:

The icy comet, which probably measures a few 10s of meters wide, is vaporizing furiously and is not expected to survive much longer.

Like the comet that came before it, this one is a member of the Kreutz family. Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a single giant comet many centuries ago. They get their name from 19th century German astronomer Heinrich Kreutz, who studied them in detail.

Because of their common parentage, sungrazers often come in clusters. After today’s sungrazer evaporates, it wouldn’t be surprising to find yet another in the offing.