Citizen scientist discovers Sun-watcher SOHO’s 4000th comet

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 11:43 in Astronomy & Space

Video: 00:00:16 Using data from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, a European citizen scientist spotted a never-before-seen comet in the satellite data — the 4,000th comet discovery in the spacecraft’s 25-year history.Currently nicknamed SOHO-4000 and pending its official designation from the Minor Planet Center, the comet has a rather small nucleus, estimated around five to ten metres in size, and it was extremely faint and close to the Sun when discovered. This means SOHO is the only observatory that has spotted the comet, as it is impossible to see from Earth – with or without a telescope.The comet is seen here in a series of images from SOHO, along with the spacecraft’s 3999th comet discovery. The two comets are relatively close, approximately 1.5 million km apart, suggesting that they could have been connected together as recently as a few years ago.Author of the discovery is Trygve Prestgard, who...

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