Although it’s viewed more than 1,000 comets, NASA and ESA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory has never seen anything like Comet McNaught.
The comet made its closest approach to the Sun between January 12-15, and fortunately passed right through SOHO’s field of view. It’s that white streak on the left-hand side of the image, in case you aren’t sure. Astronomers haven’t worked out its peak brightness yet, but it’s by far the brightest comet SOHO has ever observed. In fact, it’s so bright that it saturated the spacecraft’s CCD camera, causing the bleeding along pixel rows.
Here’s a link to a small movie file with all the images stitched together so you can see McNaught’s movement through SOHO’s field of view.
Briefly visible as a daylight object, McNaught is now visible at sunset in the southern hemisphere.
And in case you don’t get a chance to see it with your own eyes, here’s a wonderful gallery of images provided by Space Weather.com.
Original Source: SOHO News Release