Friday, July 1, 2016

Comet Neat

This image of comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) was taken at the WIYN 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona, on May 7, 2004.

The image was captured with the Mosaic I camera, which has a one-square degree field of view, or about five times the size of the Moon. Even with this large field, only the comet's coma and the inner portion of its tail are visible. A small star cluster (C0736-105, or Melotte 72) is visible in the lower right of the image, between the head of the comet and the bright red star in the lower-right corner. (Courtesy NASA, NOAO, NSF, STScI)


  1. Replies
    1. Far out!
      (Although there is a typo in the last sentence of the article.)

    2. OK, I give up. I couldn't spot the typo.

    3. Only 5 million miles from home? I don't think so. Jupiter is further away from earth than the sun at 93 million miles. Mars, at its recent close pass to earth was 46 million miles away. Jupiter is way, way further out.

    4. 588 million kilometers
      When the two planets are at their closest point, the distance to Jupiter is only 365 million miles (588 million kilometers). From its closest point, Jupiter shines so brightly that even Venus dims in comparison. At its farthest, the gas giant lies 601 million miles (968 million km) away.

  2. I think it's a pity that the people whose job it is name these things name them after what could be an outofstate vehicle registration rather than something real.

    How about Blue Pacific Flash or the Ronald Reagan?

    Whatever. Hold a competition. Anything would be better than the Geekese mangle of anti significance moniker it has now for eternity.

    1. How about the Jimmy Carter?

      Because it's a gassy pinhead over the horizon with a big purple arse.

  3. The red star in the corner doesn't even get a registration number.

    How about the Noam Chomsky?

    Because it happened about 500 billion years ago and only lasted four seconds anyway.