Intense and overwhelming, the direct glare of the Sun is blocked by the
smooth occulting disk in this image from the
Taken on January 3rd, an extreme
ultraviolet image of the Sun to scale,
is superimposed at the center of the disk.
Beyond the disk's outer boundary is a
comet, one of the
brightest yet seen by SOHO.
The comet was discovered
by Australian amateur astronomer Alan Watson,
while examining earlier images from
another sun-watching spacecraft,
Based on their orbits, sungrazers are believed to belong
to the Kreutz
family of comets, created by successive
break ups from a single large parent comet
that passed very near the Sun in the twelfth century.
Subjected to strong
and intense solar heat, this sungrazer comet did not survive its