Hey Space Placers!
You have got to see the movies that show Comet Lovejoy, the kamikaze comet, diving into and out of the Sun! The comet became very bright with a long curving tail going in and then you can see the remnant without a tail going out. Simply amazing.
I have to tell you I am glad this ancient piece of the solar system survived. It is going to give us information on comet structure and characteristics we would not have obtained otherwise. I am sure there will be some papers published in the future about this most unique episode in sungrazing comet history.
Here are the links to the movies: http://spaceweather.com/images2011/16dec11/phoenix_comet_emerges.mov?PHPSESSID=3puch6tnfd9ru4t6ifc7mhinh3 (truly amazing to see the remnant coming around the Sun!)
Now Comet Lovejoy, or what is left of it, will recede back into the solar system, and become part of astronomical history. I have not seen anything that discussed what the comet's orbit would be like if it survived the encounter. I'll let you know if anything comes out on it.
Sky Guy in VA
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