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.

2023 July 14
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Comet C/2023 E1 ATLAS near Perihelion
Image Credit & Copyright: Dan Bartlett

Explanation: Comet C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) was just spotted in March, another comet found by the NASA funded Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System. On July 1 this Comet ATLAS reached perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun. Days later the telescopic comet was captured in this frame sporting a pretty greenish coma and faint, narrow ion tail against a background of stars in the far northern constellation Ursa Minor. This comet's closest approach to Earth is still to come though. On August 18 this visitor to the inner Solar System will be a mere 3 light-minutes or so from our fair planet. Based on its inclination to the ecliptic plane and orbital period of about 85 years C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) is considered a Halley-type comet.

Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend

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