Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2007 February 12
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Comet McNaught Over New Zealand
Credit & Copyright: Minoru Yoneto

Explanation: Comet McNaught is perhaps the most photogenic comet of our time. After making quite a show in the northern hemisphere in mid January, the comet moved south and developed a long and unusual dust tail that dazzled southern hemisphere observers starting in late January. Comet McNaught was imaged two weeks ago between Mount Remarkable and Cecil Peak in this spectacular image taken from Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand. The bright comet dominates the right part of the above image, while the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy dominates the left. Careful inspection of the image will reveal a meteor streak just to the left of the comet. Comet McNaught continues to move out from the Sun and dim, but should remain visible in southern skies with binoculars through the end of this month.

Tomorrow's picture: supernova clouds

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