Astronomy Picture of the Day

Stars, Galaxies, and Comet Tempel 1

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#73400 by @ 13.05.2005 00:00 - nach oben -
Stars, Galaxies, and Comet Tempel 1


Tempel 1
sports a fuzzy blue-tinted tail,
just right of center in this
lovely field of stars.

Recorded on May 3rd slowly sweeping through the
constellation Virgo,
periodic comet Tempel 1
orbits the Sun once every 5.5 years.

Also caught in the skyview are two galaxies
at the upper left -
NGC 4762 and NGC 4754 -
both members of the large
of galaxies.

Classified as a
, NGC 4762
presents an edge-on disk as a narrow gash of light
while NGC 4754 is a football-shaped
elliptical galaxy.

Similar in apparent size,
the galaxies and comet make for an intriguing
visual comparison,
but Tempel 1 is only about 3 light-minutes from planet Earth.

The two Virgo cluster galaxies are 50 million
light-years away.

Deep Impact
spacecraft is scheduled to encounter
Tempel 1 on July 4th, launching a probe to impact
the comet's nucleus.

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