Space

Comet Lovejoy’s Close Encounter

When something’s on a crash course to the Sun, you don’t expect it to do anything other than burst into a fiery ball of plasma nothingness.

Enter Lovejoy.

The comet, officially known as c/2011 w3 Lovejoy, was considered “doomed” as it traveled toward our central star. However, as Lovejoy made its final approach at about 7 p.m. EST on December 15, astronomers were surprised to witness a very much intact comet emerging from the other side.

Imagine: Only about 87,000 miles from the surface of the sun, withstanding temperatures upwards of two million degrees Fahrenheit.

The odds of successfully navigating an approach to a star that close is 3,720 to one.

But never tell it the odds.

Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. For nearly 10 years, he's managed Stranger Dimensions, providing a unique perspective on all matters involving time travel, parallel universes, and whether or not robots might one day take over the world.

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