A newly discovered comet is making a kamikaze dive into the sun, just hours after a solar storm sent a massive cloud of charged particles streaking into space. As Spaceweather.com reported the comet was detected on September 12 by amateur astronomers Michal Kusiak of Poland and Sergei Schmalz of Germany. Soon after its discovery, it strayed too close to the sun. In a visually dramatic coincidence, the comet is making its death plunge just hours after the sun unleashed a powerful coronal mass ejection (CME) an eruption that can blast billions of tons of solar plasma into space at speeds up to 3 million mph (5 million kph).
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft, a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency, captured both the solar storm and the doomed comet’s progress on video. The kamikaze comet is thought to belong to the so-called Kreutz family of comets. Kreutz comets have orbits that approach within a few hundred thousand miles of the sun. All Kreutz comets are believed to be the remains of one giant comet that broke apart several centuries ago.