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