A COMET GOT REALLY CLOSE TO THE SUN AND COMPLETELY FREAKED OUT
As the comet approached our star, photographs collected by the NASA/ESA solar spacecraft SOHO revealed 323P/SOHO
It's strangely not a very active comet, and it only seems to be active when it's quite close to the Sun, becoming brighter as dust is released as it heats up
This means that, unlike most comets, it has little ice. Otherwise, by the time it crossed Mars' orbit on its way in, it would have sprouted a tail.
When 323P circled around the Sun again in 2021, astronomers were prepared for it because it goes so close to the Sun but has managed to survive multiple previous passes
They noticed it just weeks before perihelion, the Sun's closest approach.
Perihelion was on January 17, 2021, and astronomers had to wait for it to put the Sun behind it before they could point more ‘scopes at it
Then, in February and March, they used several large telescopes including CFHT, Gemini, Lowell Discovery Telescope, and Hubble to take a look
It had a long, narrow tail, similar to what is observed after a comet breaks apart
Comets are extremely brittle and can break apart when they have lost enough of the ice that keeps them together,
resulting in a cloud of debris and rubble encircled by an escalating dust cloud.
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