Astronomy Picture of the Day

Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 Passes the Earth

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#87356 by @ 24.05.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 Passes the Earth

Rarely does a comet pass this close to Earth.

Last week, dedicated astrofilmographers were able to take advantage
of the close approach of crumbling
73P / Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 to make time-lapse movies of the fast-moving comet.

Large comet fragments passed about 25 times the Moon's distance from the Earth.

The above time lapse movie of
Fragment B of
Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 over
USA was taken during a single night, May 16, with 83
consecutive 49-second exposures.

Some observers report being able to perceive the slight motion of
the comet with respect to the background stars using only their
binoculars and without resorting to the creation of fancy digital time-lapse movies.

Fragment B of
Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 became just barely visible to the
unaided eye two weeks ago but now is appearing to fade as the comet
has moved past the Earth and nears the Sun.

Many sky enthusiasts will be
on the watch for a particularly active meteor shower tonight as the
Earth made its closest approach to orbit of
Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 late yesterday.

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