NASA captures stunning video of comet hitting the Sun

Michael Bolen

NASA has captured video of a comet hitting the Sun and the footage is getting plenty of buzz online. One viewing is all it takes to see why.

The footage was captured by NASA's Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on May 10 and May 11 and posted to NASA Goddard's Flickr page. It shows what is believed to be a comet from the Kreutz family hurtling into the Sun. The Kreutz family of objects is believed to have originated from a single large comet that came apart centuries ago. The Kreutz comets were discovered by amateur astronomer Sergey Shrupakov.

The Sun itself is obscured in the video and represented by a white circle. According to NASA, the sun is blocked by a red disc so that "faint structures in the Sun's corona can be discerned." Consequently, the actual impact of the comet can't bee seen.

What appears to be an explosion caused by the impact is actually a coincidental coronal mass ejection which occured just as the comet was approaching the Sun. Scientists have not yet found a connection between these mass ejections and comet impacts.

So have no fear, a measly comet won't be messing with our summer sunlight any time soon.

(Video credit: NASA/SOHO)