Dec 152011
 

In what could become the most spectacular solar event of an already eventful year, Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3) is racing towards solar doom today. With a coma that appears to be larger than Jupiter and with a tail stretching for tens of millions of miles, Comet Lovejoy is the first sungrazing comet observed directly from earth in over forty years. Discovered using a CCD-equipped telescope by Terry Lovejoy on November 27, Comet Lovejoy appears to be a member of the Kreutz group of sungrazing comets that have put on some of the most magnificent shows in recorded history.

There is even a possibility that Comet Lovejoy will be visible for a short time in broad daylight.

Technically, Comet Lovejoy is projected to come about 0.1 solar diameters from the Sun’s plasma surface (photoshere) at about 6 PM Central, but in reality the comet will almost certainly perish, perhaps spectacularly. In any case, Comet Lovejoy will likely outdo October’s amazing cometary solar impact event.

As with the October event, look for a resulting coronal mass ejection (CME). Quoting our October blurb:

Conventional astronomical theories cannot account for the violent solar reactions to these two impacts because neither body had sufficient mass or speed to violently blast significant amounts of ejecta millions of miles away from the sun’s surface. However, proponents of the Electric Universe predicted such behavior. According to them, comets are like giant capacitors that become highly electrically charged due to their eccentric orbits around the sun. When they plunge through the inner solar system, the dense solar winds trigger plasma discharges resulting in the tail and coma of the comet. If there is any truth to this idea, it is easy to imagine how a comet impact could disrupt the local magnetic field of the sun and result in a CME.

And if the CME is big and earth directed, be on the lookout for earthly consequences like auroral displays and even earthquakes.

Comet Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy

UPDATE: Wow!

Comet Lovejoy from LASCO C3

Comet Lovejoy from LASCO C3

Oct 042011
 

The largest cometary impact of the sun that I have ever witnessed occurred this weekend triggering a significant coronal mass ejection (CME).  The animated GIF below shows the event.

A significant comet impacts the sun triggering a CME.

A significant comet impacts the sun triggering a CME.

The coma of the comet was bigger than the earth (although the nucleus was certainly much less massive) and its tail stretched for several million miles. The comet streaked towards the sun at terrific speeds indicating a large, eccentric orbit. Further analysis of the comet’s motion shows an apparent slowdown as the comet neared the sun. In actuality, the comet continued to speed up as it swung around the sun, but did not quite clear the solar disk and smacked the sun on the far side, triggering the CME that erupted on the opposite side from the comet’s apparent approach in the animated GIF.

While some, like the bloggers at SpaceWeather, have expressed surprise in seeing the associated CME, this is not the first time that a comet has triggered a coronal mass ejection. A much smaller impact event occurred last May and can be seen in the YouTube video on our site here. Another similar collision that resulted in a more ambiguous CME can be seen on our site here.

Conventional astronomical theories cannot account for the violent solar reactions to these two impacts because neither body had sufficient mass or speed to violently blast significant amounts of ejecta millions of miles away from the sun’s surface. However, proponents of the Electric Universe predicted such behavior. According to them, comets are like giant capacitors that become highly electrically charged due to their eccentric orbits around the sun. When they plunge through the inner solar system, the dense solar winds trigger plasma discharges resulting in the tail and coma of the comet. If there is any truth to this idea, it is easy to imagine how a comet impact could disrupt the local magnetic field of the sun and result in a CME.

May 102011
 

An unnamed comet appears to be on an impact course with the sun. It should strike the sun within the next two or three hours.

An unnamed comet streaks towards the sun from the left

An unnamed comet streaks towards the sun from the right

Lasko C2 Image of comet streaking towards sun.

Lasko C2 Image of comet streaking towards sun.

Here is a video showing the comet plummeting into the sun with a CME erupting roughly simultaneously on the opposite, earth facing side.

The following YouTube video gives an even better view of the event: