Comet C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy) approaches the Sun - UPDATE

Surprisingly as it may seem, comet Lovejoy appears to have survived its close encounter with the Sun. Video and images relased by the NASAs Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) caught the comet reemerging on the other side of the Sun after its perihelion.

Note how in the last frames the remnant of the pre-perihelion tail is still visible but completely disconnected from the comet.

Using the images taken from 04:39UT to 10:54UT by the SECCHI outer coronagraph (COR2) on the STEREO Ahead observatory on December 16, we have made this animation clearly showing what is left of the comet nucleus after the close approach with the Sun (at present no one can say how much of the comet's core remains intact). Click on the thumbnail for a bigger version:

Using images taken from SOHO C3 from 15:54 of December 15 to 09:30UT of December 16, we made this animation showing the comet on its course pre and after the perihelion. Click on the thumbnail for a bigger version:

by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero & Nick Howes