An unusual comet crossed the sun’s path, NASA reported on Tuesday as it released footage captured by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory that it shares with the European Space Agency.
The comet grazed the sun between February 18 and 21. Although it’s the 2,875th comet seen by SOHO, according to NASA, it’s noteworthy because “it’s not part of any known family of comets.”
“Most comets seen by SOHO belong to the Kreutz family – all of which broke off from a single giant comet many centuries ago,” explains NASA.
Most comets that pass this close to the sun evaporate upon nearing the sun’s surface. However, this comet survived, and therefore might soon be visible from Earth:
“There’s a half-decent chance that ground observers might be able to detect it in the coming weeks,” said Karl Battams, a solar scientist at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C. “But it’s also possible that events during its trip around the sun will cause it to die fairly fast.”