Comet Linear (C/2002 T7)

Click on image for larger version.

In the past comets brought with them connotations of doom and gloom. Witnessing a comet in the night sky could very well be one of the scariest things a person might see up there in the heavens. Nowadays, given sufficient distance from the Earth, comets elicit a distinctly different reaction. People gaze at them in wonder from even bright city skies- and amateur astronomers enjoy the change in pace from their usual astronomical vistas. This comet, LINEAR (C/2002 T7), is now rounding the Sun and will be journeying to the outer part of the solar system soon. On its way, people in the northern hemisphere can catch a glimpse of it during the subsequent months.

The images shown here are separated by 3-4 days worth of time. Notice how quickly the comet changes its appearence. Also note how the comet's anti-solar direction (along the tail) is changing as it moves in its orbit (the images have identical orientations with North at the top).


76mm Televue (480mm f/6.3 refractor)
SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

L R G B color production was used to create this image.

Luminance = none binned 1x1
Red = 3 minutes binned 1x1
Green = 3 minutes binned 1x1
Blue = 3 minutes binned 1x1

  • Data acquired when comet was only a few degrees above the horizon!
  • From left to right the dates for the images are 4/21/04, 4/25/04 and 4/28/04. It is remarkable how much the appearance of a comet changes over just a few nights.
  • Minimum credit line (from left to right): Svend and Carl Freytag/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF Philip Darling and Teresa Hawes/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF Pat Balfour and Curt Harris/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF

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    Updated: 04/28/2004