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Image of sun-approaching comet ISON

Date:
July 25, 2013
Source:
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)
Summary:
In this Hubble composite image taken in April 2013, the sun-approaching Comet ISON floats against a seemingly infinite backdrop of numerous galaxies and a handful of foreground stars.

In this Hubble Space Telescope composite image taken in April 2013, the sun-approaching Comet ISON floats against a seemingly infinite backdrop of numerous galaxies and a handful of foreground stars. The icy visitor, with its long gossamer tail, appears to be swimming like a tadpole through a deep pond of celestial wonders. The background stars and galaxies were separately photographed in red and yellow-green light with the Wide Field Camera 3. Because the comet moved between exposures relative to the background objects, its appearance was blurred. The blurred comet photo was replaced with a single, black-and-white exposure. This photo is one of the original images featured on ISONblog, a new online source offering unique analysis of Comet ISON by Hubble Space Telescope astronomers and staff at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md.
Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

The sun-approaching Comet ISON floats against a seemingly infinite backdrop of numerous galaxies and a handful of foreground stars.

The icy visitor, with its long gossamer tail, appears to be swimming like a tadpole through a deep pond of celestial wonders.

In reality, the comet is much, much closer. The nearest star to the Sun is over 60,000 times farther away, and the nearest large galaxy to the Milky Way is over thirty billion times more distant.

These vast dimensions are lost in this deep space Hubble exposure that visually combines our view of the universe from the very nearby to the extraordinarily far away.

In this composite image, background stars and galaxies were separately photographed in red and yellow-green light. Because the comet moved between exposures relative to the background objects, its appearance was blurred. The blurred comet photo was replaced with a single, black-and-white exposure.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). "Image of sun-approaching comet ISON." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130725141524.htm>.
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). (2013, July 25). Image of sun-approaching comet ISON. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130725141524.htm
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). "Image of sun-approaching comet ISON." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130725141524.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

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