At first glance it looks like aliens are using the sun for target practice.
A string of bullet-shaped streaks of light appear to be shooting straight toward the sun.
These are the proverbial snowballs in Hell, plunging 300 miles per second toward a fiery end in the sun's atmosphere.
The NASA/ESA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) observed the demise of one comet fragment on Friday, March 12.
The wayward comets are called sungrazers. They are a class of comet that likes to live dangerously. Sungrazers can skirt within a few thousand miles of the sun's roiling photosphere. Many are torn apart or evaporate as they streak along at a blazing 1 million miles per hour. As their orbits are perturbed, surviving sungrazers can collide with the sun on a subsequent passage.
The first recognized sungrazing comet was detected during a total solar eclipse in May 1882. Just imagine the surprise and awe as a glowing streak of light appeared to observers as the sun entered totality. Other sungrazers have been briefly bright enough to be seen in the daytime sky alongside the sun. The most recent, comet Ikeya-Seki in 1965.