User highlight: Comet 96P/Machholz returns


YouTube and Helioviewer.org user otraLoly shared this short video of the return of Comet 96P/Machholz to the LASCO-C3 field of view. Thanks for sharing your video! More images of the comet will be available soon on Helioviewer.org.

The small, tadpole-like extended feature approximately in the center of the field of view in the image below is Comet 96P/Machholz.
Comet 96/PMachholz in 2012, close up

Comet 96P/Machholz has an orbital period of about 5.2 years, which means it has been seen before in LASCO observations. Here is an example image from 2007


Comet 96p/Machholz in 2007

and five years before that in 2002,


Comet 96p/Machholz in 2002

The dates for the entry of Comet 96P/Machholz were obtained from the transit page of the LASCO instrument. It is projected to be visible in the LASCO C3 field of view from July 12 – 17, and it may also be visible in the images from the STEREO A/B coronagraphs.

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  1. #1 by Ginger on July 12, 2012 - 8:04 pm

    Can you tell me what the other white object is disappearing around the sun as the comet approaches..?? Also, does this happen just minutes before the X~class flare today?

    • #2 by jack on July 12, 2012 - 9:08 pm

      Hi,

      The first image out of the three in the blog post are from the recent return of 96P/Machholz. The appearance of the comet has got absolutely nothing to do with today’s X flare.

      The third image in the blog post is from 2002. According to the transit page http://sungrazer.nrl.navy.mil/index.php?p=transits/transits_2002 the large white blob that appears towards the right of the Sun is the planet Venus.

      Thanks,

      Jack

  2. #3 by Thomas Ziegler on July 14, 2012 - 8:15 pm

    In the second pic. Just north of the sun there is another tail, what is that?

    • #4 by jack on July 16, 2012 - 2:20 pm

      If you go back to the previous LASCO-C3 image
      and forward to the next LASCO-C3 image
      you can see that it disappears, whereas Comet 96P/Machholz does not disappear in either of these images. The fact that the feature you are looking at does not look like Comet 96P/Machholz or any other comet seen in LASCO-C3, and since it also appears in only one frame, strongly indicates that the feature is due to a cosmic ray hitting the detector. This is a very common occurrence in LASCO-C3 images, and is explained in greater detail here. Let me know if you have any further questions.

  3. #5 by sean3 on August 22, 2012 - 2:40 pm

    comet mancholz(96P)
    is a great scene for users!

  4. #6 by Schott on October 14, 2012 - 5:09 pm

    a great Webside

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