Astronomy Picture of the Day

Comet Holmes Grows a Tail

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#104524 by @ 06.11.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
Comet Holmes Grows a Tail

Comet Holmes continues to be an
impressive sight to the unaided eye.

The comet has
diminished in brightness only slightly, and now clearly appears to have a
larger angular extent than stars and planets.

Astrophotographers have also noted a
distinctly green appearance to the comet's
coma over the past week.

Pictured above over
Spain in three
digitally combined exposures,
Comet 17P/Holmes
now clearly sports a tail.

The blue
ion tail
is created by the solar wind impacting ions in the coma of
Comet Holmes
and pushing them away from the Sun.

Comet Holmes
underwent an unexpected and dramatic increase in brightness starting only two weeks ago.

The detail visible in
Comet Holmes' tail indicates that the
explosion of dust and gas that created this dramatic brightness
increase is in an ongoing and complex event.

Comet Holmes will
move only slightly on the sky over during the next month.

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