This is an animation of the most recent images from the SOHO spacecraft's LASCO C3 camera.
Expect it to load slowly.
Comet C/2006 P1 (McNaught) will be visible from Friday, Jan. 12 to Monday, Jan. 15. The first SOHO images of the comet can be seen in our Comet McNaught Viewer's Guide.
This real-time movie, which shows the most recent 48 hours of solar activity, is updated every hour if satellite communications permit. The image is generated by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft.
Other animation sizes and formats are avaible at the SOHO site.
Instruments on SOHO makes images like this one by blocking the light coming directly from the Sun with an occulter disk, creating an artificial eclipse within the instrument itself. The lack of detail (notice that the tail is all white) occurs because the comet is so bright it saturates the image detector. The small moving dot is Mercury.
SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.
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