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.

2013 November 10
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Comet Between Fireworks and Lightning
Image Credit & Copyright: Antti Kemppainen

Explanation: Sometimes the sky itself is the best show in town. In January 2007, people from Perth, Australia gathered on a local beach to watch a sky light up with delights near and far. Nearby, fireworks exploded as part of Australia Day celebrations. On the far right, lightning from a thunderstorm flashed in the distance. Near the image center, though, seen through clouds, was the most unusual sight of all: Comet McNaught. The photogenic comet was so bright that it even remained visible though the din of Earthly flashes. Comet McNaught has now returned to the outer Solar System and is now only visible with a large telescope. The above image is actually a three photograph panorama digitally processed to reduce red reflections from the exploding firework.

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