The size of the nucleus (the solid center of the comet)
is approximately 0.5 to 0.7 kilometers. 1 kilometer =
The size of the coma (this is the glowing snowball) is
indeed the size of two Jupiter's. Approximately 293,000
kilometers or 176,000 miles in diameter. All in all,
this was just another near miss comet we have seen
almost 500 times from the view of the SOHO satellite.
Haramein non dice a caso che è difficile reperirne informazioni
The comet was discovered by NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Tracking programme (NEAT). At that time, it was 25 000 times fainter than the human eye can perceive. Initially, the comet became so bright that astronomers wondered whether they would be able to see it during the day, as it rounded the Sun.
During January 2003, the comet failed to brighten as hoped. Now, it is expected to disappear from view to Earth-bound observers about 11 February 2003, as it heads towards the Sun for its closest approach on 18 February 2003. It will not be lost from all sight, however, as in space, SOHO will be watching. Astronomers expect C/2002 V1 (NEAT) to pass into LASCO instrument's field of view, early on 16 February and stay there until 20 February.
It will pass by the Sun at less than a tenth of the distance between the Earth and the Sun. There is a small chance that the Sun's gravitational field could pull it to pieces. “Even if that doesn't happen, the fly-by itself should be impressive enough,” says Bernhard Fleck, SOHO Project Scientist.