As dawn approached on May 8, astronomer Stefan Seip carefully
watched Fragment C of
73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 approach
the Ring Nebula, and faint spiral galaxy
Of course, even though the trio seemed to come close together
in a truly cosmic photo opportunity,
the comet is
in the inner part of our solar system, a mere 0.5
or so from Seip's telescope located near Stuttgart, Germany,
The Ring Nebula (upper right) is more like 2,000 light-years distant,
well within our own Milky Way Galaxy.
At a distance of 200 million light-years, IC 1296 (between comet
and ring) is beyond even the Milky Way's boundaries.
Because the comet is so close, it appears to move relatively rapidly
against the distant stars.
This dramatic telescopic view was composited from two
sets of images;
one compensating for the comet's apparent
motion and one recording the background stars