SOHO and Sungrazing Comet Links

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SOHO  and STEREO Images, Comet Claims, and Discussion

The SOHO Sungrazer Website
Includes the Recent Claims page, Sungrazer claim reporting form, plus tables of all SOHO and other sungrazing comets.

NASA SOHO realtime images
Great images of the Sun from many SOHO cameras. LASCO C2 and C3 are the ones to use for comet hunting (the larger, the better, if you have the connection speed).

NRL LASCO realtime images
These images usually (though not always) update quicker than the NASA images, and their color is more uniform (though a bit on the light side).

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory LASCO Site
The source for realtime black-and-white images, and also the image archives.

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory LASCO Site
The source for realtime black-and-white images, and also the image archives.

SECCHI (Sun Earth Connection Coronal and Heliospheric Investigation) site
SECCHI is a suite of five coronographic/heliospheric telescopes aboard the two STEREO spacecraft. This mission will observe the solar corona and inner heliosphere "in stereo". Near-Sun comets are visible in some images, but although SECCHI can observe stars and asteroids nearly 100 times fainter than those found in SOHO's LASCO images, it is not as sensitive as LASCO in detecting comets.

Yahoo Sohohunter Mailing List
Discussion and question forum for SOHO comet hunting.

Yahoo Stereohunter Mailing List
Discussion and question forum for comet hunting in STEREO's SECCHI images.

SOHO DSN and NRT Schedule
Lists time intervals when NASA's Deep Space Network may be available to download images from SOHO.


Web sites of SOHO Comet Hunters

Mike Boschat (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Information on meteors, satellites, international astronomy (particularly Russia and the USSR), and Mike's 60 SOHO comet discoveries--plus a huge list of links.

Dave Evans (Birmingham, England)
"Dave's Virtual Sungrazer Observatory": A "one-stop" way to access most SOHO-related sites and material.

Steve Farmer, Jr. (Ty Ty, Georgia, USA)
Steve has found more than 10 SOHO comets; his Web site contains information on SOHO and night-sky comets, other astronomical news of notes, as well as observing reports from his own Red Barn Observatory, including NEO observations and confirmation.

Xing Gao (Urumqi, Xinjiang, China)
The Xinjiang Amateur Astronomy Society's website; click on the SOHO link for Xing Gao's SOHO pages, which include a page about Xing's own discoveries, Xing's updates to XingMing Zhou's SOHO ranking table, links, and more.

Sebastian Hönig (Dossenheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany)
Great information for SOHO beginners, and info on Sebastian's own comet and asteroid finds (including the discovery of C/2002 O4 Hönig, the first night-sky comet found by a German amateur since 1946!). His revamped Web site includes information on the short-period SOHO comet C/1999 R1, which Sebastian identified as being the same as C/2003 R5, and which he successfully predicted would make another return on September 11, 2007.

David Johnson (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Dave is the discoverer of the comet SOHO-350, which he found on September 10, 2001. His site contains drawings and descriptions of his night-sky comet observations, as well as other material of general astronomical interest.

Rainer Kracht (Elmshorn, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)
Rainer is now the all-time leading SOHO comet discoverer, having found 200 SOHO comets (particularly archive and non-Kreutz comets, including SOHO-500), plus a comet group, as well as four comets in archival SOLWIND imagery.. Extensive info on his discoveries, plus tracks of non-Kreutz comet groups in C2 and C3, and other information on the new-group comets.

Xavier Leprette (Issy-les-Moulineaux, France)
Xavier is one of the most successful SOHO comet hunters, with 100 discoveries. His pages (in French) chronicle his SOHO comet discoveries, and also include his photographs of solar-system objects, including solar and lunar eclipses and the transits of Mercury and Venus.

Terry Lovejoy (Queensland, Australia)
A superb comet observer and photographer, Terry was the first amateur to find comets in SOHO data, and the first person to report a naked-eye sighting of Comet Hale-Bopp. In 2007, he became the first person to discover comets (a pair of them!) with a digital SLR camera. The site contains his astrophotos.

Maik Meyer (Kelkheim, Hesse, Germany)
The Catalogue of Comet Discoveries (table of discovery circumstances of all known comets). Recent comet news, Yahoo Comets Mailing List, info on Maik's own SOHO comet finds, his discovery of the first non-Kreutz sungrazing comet group, and his asteroid discoveries.

Michael Oates (Manchester, England)
For a long time, Mike was the most prolific SOHO comet hunter. Details on his 140+ discoveries, plus a chart of C2 comet paths and links to articles. Mike pioneered the searching of archive images for comets missed in SOHO's early years.

Heiner Otterstedt (Otterstedt, Germany)
Heiner has shown a talent for finding C3 non-Kreutz comets.

Toni Scarmato (San Costantino di Briatico, Calabria, Italy)
A veru active comet observer and photographer, and the discoverer of 22 SOHO comets as of latey 2007, including SOHO-1000. Includes photos of Toni's own SOHO finds, plus photos and animations of comets, asteroids, and variable stars.

Jonathan Shanklin (Cambridge, England)
Jon, the finder of 6 SOHO comets is director of the British Astronomical Association's Comets Section and runs its website, which gives a wealth of information on SOHO and other comets. As a scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, he co-discovered the Antarctic ozone hole.

Quanzhi Ye (Guangzhou, China)
Quanzhi is a student who is active in comet, asteroid, and meteor observation. He discovered six SOHO comets in 2005, recovered a near-Earth asteroid for the Spacewatch FMO Project, and has found 60 asteroids in online data.

Wentao Xu (Guangzhou, China)
Wentao is the discoverer of 8 SOHO comets as of late 2007. His Web site contains information on SOHO comet discoveries, as well as his own  observations of  the night sky and astrophotographs..

XingMing Zhou (BoLe, Xinjiang, China)
The Silk Road Astronomy pages (in Chinese). (Click for translation help.) Much information on comets (SOHO and night-sky), meteors, and other astronomical phenomena, plus XingMing's own observing reports. He discovered 63 SOHO comets and one SWAN comet, and made independent discoveries of two night-sky comets. Sadly, XingMing died on August 5, 2004, after a motorcycle accident.

Web sites of Sungrazing (Night-Sky) Comet Discoverers

Tsutomu Seki (Kochi, Japan)
Tsutomu Seki is the co-discoverer of the great Kreutz sungrazer Comet Ikeya-Seki (C/1965 S1) in 1965 and has discovered five other comets, recovered 28 periodic comets, and discovered more than 200 asteroids. Still an active observer, his eloquently written web site contains observing notes, a diary, photographs (both astronomical and terrestrial), and information on his discoveries.

Graeme White (Townsville, Australia)
While a student at Wollongong University, Graeme White was the first to find and report the 20th Century's last major Kreutz sungrazer, Comet White-Ortiz-Bolelli (C/1970 K1). He sighted it in 12 x 50 binoculars, on May 18, 1970, when it was already nearly first magnitude. White is now Director of the Centre for Astronomy at James Cook University; his Web site contains lots of interesting biographical information (and photos), both personal and professional.


Articles by SOHO Comet Hunters

"SOHO Sungrazing Comets and the Origin of the Kreutz Group" (by Sebastian Hönig, August 2001)
"Comets and Cometary Fragmentation: Possible Effect on Life in Planetary Systems" (by Michael Oates, June 2001)

Articles, News Items, and Press Releases about SOHO Comet Hunting


"SOHO Has Seen 750 Comets" (Universe Today, 6 April 2004)
"Comets: 'Sungrazer' Comets" (ESA Space Science, 6 April 2004)
"Image of the Day: Twin Kamikaze Comets" (Space.Com, 6 June 2003)
"SOHO Raises the Ante with Discovery of 500th Comet" (NASA/Goddard, 14 August 2002)
"Armchair Astronomer Finds 500th SOHO Comet Via Internet" (Space.com, 14 August 2002)
"Newfound Comet Visible in Binoculars" (c/2002 O6 SWAN) (Space.com, 12 August 2002)
"Amateur Discovers 132 Comets Without a Telescope" (Western Sydney Amateur Astronomy Group, June 2002)
"Now Anyone Can Discover a Comet" (Wired News, 6 May 2002)
"Comet Chasers Have Stars in their Eyes" (vnunet.com, 10 May 2002)
"Hunting Comets on the Net" (DallasNews.com, 24 April 2002)
"Great Moments in Science: Snowball in Hell 2" (Dr. Karl, November 2000)
"Space Observatory Spots Comets in Record Numbers" (Space.com, 31 August 2000)
"Amateur Stargazer Discovers Doomed Comet" (BBC News, 29 August 2000)
"Comet Champion of the Solar System" (Science@NASA, 28 August 2000)
"Some Comets Like it Hot" (Science@NASA, July 2000)
"SOHO Bags 102 Comets" (Spaceflight Now, 11 February 2000)
"Sun Scope Spies Over 100 Comets" (Spacedaily.com, 9 February 2000)
"SOHO Orbiting Observatory Dubbed History's 'Most Successful Comet Hunter' " (CNN.com, February 2000)


E-mail to tonyhoffman [at] earthlink [dot] net