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Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Comet Machholz has Babies!

Comet 96P Machholz passes through the field of view of the SOHO Kasco C3 camera between 13 and 15 July 2012. The horizontal dots are stars drifting through the field as the comet zips by the Sun (click to embiggen).

Comet Machholz has babies! Well, two fragments really. Leading the main comet by about 5 hours. You can't see them on this image, as my family (looks at eldest son) has used up all our high speed internet this month, I can only download the low resolution images.

But that doesn't matter, there are some high resolution videos from the Sungrazer folks here, LASCO C2: MP4 (1.8M) and C3:  MP4 (5.9M).
 Comet fragmentation is a lot more common than we might think (remember comets Elenin and Lovejoy), and comet Machholz is a particularly interesting case.

I think it will turn up in the STEREO images, but I really have to wait to get my bandwidth back.

Here's a video I made.

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