Move over Elenin… there’s a new comet mystery on the block that has defied predictions of its demise in dramatic fashion. Meet comet Lovejoy, named for an amateur astronomer from Australia, Terry Lovejoy. On November 27, 2011, Lovejoy discovered the comet in close proximity to the sun. He alerted NASA who quickly validated his claims. Five different spacecraft that monitor the area around the sun focused in on Lovejoy immediately to watch its rendezvous with the sun unfold. Their projections predicted that comet Lovejoy would be discovered only to be vaporized just a couple of weeks later. It’s track took it within 87,000 miles of the sun’s surface, plunging it into the corona where temperatures can reach a staggering 2 million degrees Fahrenheit.
Excited to have the rare opportunity to watch a space drama like this unfold firsthand, NASA had all available resources pointed at comet Lovejoy as it made its closest approach. They thought they were documenting the death of a comet right in our own celestial backyard. For the record, comet Lovejoy was surmised to be composed mostly of ice, as many comets are because of where they come from in the deep, cold regions of space. So, it doesn’t take a NASA rocket scientist to expect an icy comet would probably be vaporized if it comes into contact with 2 million degree temperatures. Wrong. NASA watched dumbfounded as comet Lovejoy emerged from behind the sun intact.
NASA knew comet Lovejoy was large because of its relative brightness. However, they were unable to get any real estimation of how much mass it actually contained. Now, with the fact that it survived its close encounter of the really hot kind, astronomers can safely say that comet Lovejoy must have been at least 1.1 million tons. Sounds pretty big to us at Common Sense Conspiracy…what do you think?
So, when it’s all said and done, comet Lovejoy lives to orbit another 314 years until it tries this stunt again. And a lot of astronomers have a little egg on their face.
Here is some live footage of Lovejoy’s survival for you to check out…