Comet Lovejoy skimmed across the Sun's edge about 140,000 km above the surface late December 15 and early December 16, 2011, furiously brightening and vaporizing as it approached the Sun. It is the brightest sungrazing comet that SOHO has ever seen, with a nucleus about twice as wide as a football field. It unexpectedly survived the pass and cruised out from behind the Sun some hours later. Comets are ancient balls of dust and ice.
Video credit: NASA; text credit: NASA
Note: For more information, see Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun and Survives.