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SOHO Mission to Comets

Goals: The primary mission of the European Space Agency's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecrast is to study the solar atmosphere, helioseismology and solar wind, but it has also proved very useful for spotting comets.

Accomplishments: SOHO has found more comets than any other spacecraft -- or person -- to date. The mission logged its 2,000th comet discovery in December 2010. SOHO also has observed comet 96P Machholz three times during its regular trip around the sun roughly every six years.

Key Dates
2 Dec 1995:  Launch
Status: In flight
Fast Facts
SOHO Facts The team -- and everyday people who just watch the website -- have also discovered dozens of comets, many of which are destroyed by the sun's powerful gravity and energy.

SOHO carries twelve scientific instruments.

SOHO's original lifetime was three years (to 1998), but it is still going strong.
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Last Updated: 25 Jan 2011