Comet C/2015 D1 – PL

The comet C/2015 D1 observed at the BOOTES-1 station.

The NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) detected an unusual comet skimming past the sun between Feb 18-21, 2015. The Comet C/2015 D1 (SOHO) is interesting because it is not part of any known family of comets. Furthermore, the vast majority of these sungrazer comets that come close enough to the sun usually evaporate in the intense sunlight. This comet passed within 3.5 million kms of the sun’s surface. Did it disintegrate as ISON comet in late 2013 or did survive to the heat of the Sun and gravitational tides?

Here is the answer: above is the 400 mm f2.8 combined image (19x30s) obtained on Feb 27, 2015 at the BOOTES-1 station. It reveals that the comet has survived the perihelion passage as a ghost comet, which means without an apparent nucleus. This is the first image obtained after the perihelion, as far as we know. Stay tuned for new observations!