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Speeding Comet Plunges to the Sun

Aug 06, 2016 02:27 AM EDT

A comet with a "death wish." That was how experts described the fate of the comet that plummeted towards the Sun.

This was after a comet met its end on Aug. 4 when it plunged to the Sun. The comet was caught on video speeding towards the Sun and diving into oblivion. It was one of the brightest sungrazing that happened in two decades. According to NASA comets composed of chunks of ice and dust orbit the Sun. 

From the animated video, a speeding comet can be seen approaching the Sun from the lower left area. It was moving at a top speed of 1.3 million mph as observed by ESA and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

It is normal for comets to suffer the same fate and the comets unfortunate enough to meet their death by plummeting into the Sun is called sungrazers. These comets have orbits that take them near to the Sun and in turn, putting the comet's existence in danger. Experts say that comets are pieces of bigger bodies that have since broken up due to its proximity to the Sun. Astronomers reacted to the scene and shared their enthusiasm on social media.

"This is one of the brightest Kreutz sungrazers we've seen over the past 21 yrs. Awesome!," astronomer Karl Battams said in a Tweet. The same astronomer also said that the comet could be the fastest object in the Solar System.

"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," Sarah Frazier of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said in a statement. "Like most sungrazing comets, this comet was torn apart and vaporized by the intense forces near the sun," Frazier added.

The comet, like any other sungrazing objects that plummeted into the Sun, was torn apart, destroyed and vaporized by the intense forces in the region.


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