HOUSTON, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- For the first time, technology has allowed NASA to observe a comet being vaporized as it approached the sun, the space agency reported.
In an article published in this month's Science, the agency said its Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded Comet C/2011 N3 nearing the sun and burning to nothing over a 20-minute span in July.
On its Web site, NASA describes the event as "Comet corpses in the solar wind."
Almost daily, comets are vaporized by the sun, but this was the first time technology allowed for it to be recorded, Space.com reported.
The comet was about the size of an aircraft carrier and was part of the Kreutz family of comets believed to be remnants of a giant parent comet that broke apart some 2,500 years ago, the report said.