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Comet Lovejoy's Tail - SDO 5 Years

A Comet's Tail: In December 2011, SDO caught images of Comet Lovejoy traveling around the sun – the first images ever captured of a comet traveling so low in the sun's atmosphere. Here, a time lapse photo show's the comet's trajectory as it moves away from the sun. The comet's evaporating gas, caught up in the sun's magnetic field can be seen moving out in different directions. Such images, therefore, provided not only a glimpse of how a comet loses material in the intense heat of the sun, but a visible tracer of the magnetic field lines looping through the sun's corona.

Credit: NASA/SDO

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Page Last Updated: January 20th, 2015
Page Editor: Holly Zell