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What is a Sungrazing Comet? | Sungrazing comets are a special class of comets that come very close to the sun at their nearest approach, a point called perihelion. To be considered a sungrazer, a comet needs to get within about 850,000 miles from the sun at perihelion. Many come even closer, even to within a few thousand miles.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope provides a close-up look of Comet ISON (C/2012 S1), as photographed on April 10, when the comet was slightly closer than Jupiter’s orbit at a distance of 386 million miles from the sun. Credit:NASA, ESA, J.-Y. Li (Planetary Science Institute), and the Hubble Comet ISON Imaging Science Team.
Comet ISON moves ever closer to the sun in this movie from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, captured in the early hours of Nov. 27, 2013. A coronal mass ejection explodes off the sun – it is unlikely to damage ISON even if they cross paths. Image Credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO
Giant NASA Balloon Ready to Hunt Potentially Dazzling Comet ISON | Space.com This photo shows the Comet ISON-hunting BRRISON balloon gondola pointing out the door of the hangar for a night time pointing test, to acquire images of stars and planets with both instruments. The instrument will ride a giant NASA balloon to track Comet ISON, the potential "comet of the century."