Best of AOP - Solar System

Comet Linear (C/2002 T7)

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), rounded the Sun in 2004 and began its journey to the outer part of the solar system. On its way, people in the northern hemisphere were able to 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 appearance. 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 left).

Last Updated: 26-Jun-2014

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About This Image

Click on image for larger version.


76mm Televue (480mm f/6.3 refractor)

SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

LRGB color production was used to create this image.

Luminance = RGB (synthetic) binned 1x1

Red = 3 minutes binned 1x1

Green = 3 minutes binned 1x1

Blue = 3 minutes binned 1x1

Minimum credit line (top image, 04/21/2004): Svend and Carl Freytag/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF

Minimum credit line (middle image, 04/25/2004): Philip Darling and Teresa Hawes/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF

Minimum credit line (bottom image, 04/28/2004): Pat Balfour and Curt Harris/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF