Solar System Scope is a great visual interactive tool for understanding celestial motion, and reveals the fine workings of nature’s fractal patterns infinitely flowing.

In December 2011 the comet Lovejoy2011 made a pass through our solar system and had an interesting encounter with our star.  This motion is illustrated beautifully by setting up Solar System Scope as in picture below in “Heliocentric Realistic Model” at a close zoom.  Then run time back and forth with the slider controls on the bottom, and watch what happens on evening of December 15, 2011.  Put in fullscreen mode for best effect (square arrows in upper right).  Play with time slider in to slow to days and hours around the perigee.

A video of the encounter can be seen in video below which has imagery from venerable SOHO and snazzy SDO courtesy of helioviewer.org