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  • Holiday Treat
    Posted by Frank Morring, Jr. 3:24 PM on Dec 23, 2011

    The International Space Station crew got an extremely rare treat as the holiday season begins this week, and they were kind enough to share it.

    Traveling east in darkness, watching the lightning over a stormy South Pacific from their perch in the station cupola, they were amazed to see the Comet Lovejoy rising ahead of the Sun over Tasmania.

    blog post photo
    NASA

    At their next opportunity they took a sequence of photos of the comet's appearance, which has been stitched into a video that gives a rough idea of what the station crew saw. NASA astronaut Dan Burbank, the station commander, also provided some commentary on what it was like from his vantage point.

    To see the result, click here.

    As Lovejoy approached the Sun last week, astronomers expected it to evaporate as it passed through the corona. Instead, it survived almost an hour in the million-degree region, and came out the other side to treat the station crew -- and us -- with this astounding spectacle.

    Tags: os99, ISS, Comet Lovejoy, DanBurbank

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