posted on Jun, 12 2003 @ 05:45 PM
A run through the jungle is too easy; for the ultimate reality show contest, try a race through the Sun's atmosphere, where two comets recently lost
their heads. The tails from a pair of comets survived a close encounter with the Sun, even after the Sun's intense heat and radiation vaporized their
heads (nuclei and coma), an extremely rare event photographed by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft.
On May 24, 2003, a pair of comets arced in tandem towards the Sun, their paths taking them to just 0.1 solar radii above the Sun's surface, deep
within the searing multimillion-degree solar atmosphere (corona).
They belong to the Kreutz family of sun-grazing comets, often seen by the SOHO spacecraft while diving towards their final rendezvous with the Sun.
But as in humans, twins are rare. Even more so, this pair showed another very unusual trait: What looks like a faint tail (or "puff of smoke") can
be seen moving away from the Sun, seemingly emanating from a point in the orbit beyond the comet's closest approach. Normally, sungrazers simply fade
and disappear at an earlier stage, obliterated by the Sun's intense heat and radiation pressure.