This frame from a spectacular time lapse movie shows
McNaught - the Great
Comet of 2007 -
the inner solar system.
The movie frames were recorded from
January 12 through Jan 16 by a
coronograph onboard the
sun-staring SOHO spacecraft.
Bright planet Mercury also glides dramatically through
the field of view but the Sun itself remains fixed,
hidden behind the coronograph's central occulting disk.
comet is so
bright it almost overwhelms SOHO's
sensitive camera designed to explore the
fainter structures in
the Sun's outer atmosphere.
closest approach to the Sun (perihelion on
January 12) was only 0.17
units, or about half the distance between the Sun and Mercury.
(Note: To download the movie file, click on the picture.)