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 16
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Active Comet ISON
Image Credit & Copyright: Babak Tafreshi (TWAN)

Explanation: Falling through planet Earth's predawn skies toward its close encounter with the Sun on November 28, Comet ISON is coming to life. The much anticipated comet has now been reported to have substantially increased in activity, surging to naked-eye visibility for dark sites and sprouting a more complex tail. ISON's tail stretches over two degrees in this telephoto skyview from southern Kenya, captured on the morning of November 14. Shown in two panels, the enlarged negative version on the right makes details of the long tail easier to trace, including the tail's separated filaments toward the top of the frame. A sungrazer and first time visitor to the inner solar system, the possibility of ISON's survival to become a bright comet in planet Earth's December skies remains a question.

Tomorrow's picture: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.