A comet visiting the
sun has disintegrated in front of astronomers' eyes in a series of unprecedented observations
323P/SOHO is one of
the rare near-sun comets, which follow elliptical orbits that take them closer to the sun
The Subaru Telescope,
which searched for the comet as it approached perihelion in December 2020, saw only a simple small dot.
When the comet reemerged
into view of Hubble, it looked very different, sporting a long tail of ejected dust.
Scientists believe that
the visible change happened as the comet disintegrated because of the extreme heat near the sun.
Observing near-sun comets
however, is no easy feat. Most of them are discovered accidentally by sun-observing satellites, such as SOHO
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