In another triumph for citizen science, it was spotted by Worachate Boonplod of Samut Songkhram, Thailand. But that is not so uncommon. Around 95% of SOHO comets have been found by citizen scientists as the SOHO data is publicly available online in near-real time.
“I am very happy to be part of a great milestone for SOHO’s comet project,” said Worachate.
“I would like to thank SOHO, ESA and NASA for making this opportunity possible, including other fellow comet hunters who I have learned a lot from.”
SOHO was launched in 1995 to observe the Sun and its stormy atmosphere, and the flow of the solar wind out into interplanetary space. The telescope’s prowess as a comet-hunter, however, was unplanned, but turned out to be an unexpected success. With its clear view of the Sun’s surroundings, SOHO can easily spot a special kind of comet called a sungrazer – so-called because of their close approach to the Sun.
You can read the full story of the discovery here: ESA/NASA solar observatory discovers its 3000th comet.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.