The sun swallowed a giant icy comet on December 8 2015

On Tuesday, December 8, 2015, the sun swallowed an icy comet.

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spotted the visitor from outer space plunging into our star.

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This large comet was swallowed by the sun on December 8 2015. Photo: Soho

The comet – “rubble pile” of rock and gravel – has now completely vaporized. Any remains are invisible from Earth.

This comet belonged to the Kreutz family, which formed from the explosion of a single giant comet many centuries ago.

Several Kreutz fragments disintegrate every day in the sun. However most only measure a few meters across and are too small to be seen. But, on rare occasions, a 10 m to 50 m fragment like this one attracts attention:

Because of their common parentage, sungrazers often come in clusters. So, it wouldn’t be surprising to observe another comet being swallowed by the sun.

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