Astronomy Picture of the Day

Machholz Meets the Pleiades

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#63666 by @ 12.01.2005 00:00 - nach oben -
Machholz Meets the Pleiades


Sweeping northward in planet Earth's sky,
comet Machholz
extended its long ion tail with the
Pleiades star cluster
in the background on January 7th.

This stunning view,
recorded with a telephoto lens in
skies over Oberjoch, Bavaria, Germany, emphasizes faint,
complex tail
structures and the scene's lovely blue
and green colors.

Merging with the blue dust-reflected starlight of the Pleiades,
colors in the comet's
ion tail and greenish coma are
produced as gas molecules
fluoresce in sunlight.

Reflecting the sunlight, dust from
comet Machholz trails
along the comet's
and forms the whitish tail jutting
down and toward the right.

While the visible
spans about 500,000 kilometers,
the nucleus of the comet, likely only a few kilometers
across, lies hidden within.

Comet tails can extend
many millions of kilometers
from the nucleus, but appear substantially shortened
because of perspective.

Credit & Copyright
#63898 by @ 13.01.2005 20:23 - nach oben -
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