Astronomy Picture of the Day

Comet McNaught from New STEREO Satellite

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#98167 by @ 18.01.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
Comet McNaught from New STEREO Satellite

The brightest comet of recent decades was a surprising first sight for a new camera in space.

The Sun Earth Connection Coronal
and Heliospheric Investigation
(SECCHI) instrument onboard the
Solar TErrestrial
RElations Observatory
(STEREO) satellite had just opened up
on January 11 when it snapped the above image of
Comet McNaught.

Visible was a spectacular view of the
ion tail of
Comet McNaught
being swept away from the Sun by the
solar wind
in filamentary rays.

The comet tail is seen to extend at least seven degrees across the
above image, while the
central coma is so bright it saturates.

Comet McNaught is now reportedly so bright that it is visible
even in broad daylight by blocking out the Sun with your hand.

Comet McNaught
has rounded the Sun and will slowly
fade away for observers in
Earth's Southern Hemisphere
as it recedes from the Sun.

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