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.

2024 March 9
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Comet Pons-Brooks in Northern Spring
Image Credit & Copyright: Petr Horálek / Institute of Physics in Opava

Explanation: As spring approaches for northern skygazers, Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is growing brighter. Currently visible with small telescopes and binoculars, the Halley-type comet could reach naked eye visibility in the coming weeks. Seen despite a foggy atmosphere, the comet's green coma and long tail hover near the horizon in this well-composed deep night skyscape from Revuca, Slovakia recorded on March 5. M31, also known as the Andromeda galaxy, and bright yellowish star Mirach, beta star of the constellation Andromeda, hang in the sky above the comet. The Andromeda galaxy is some 2.5 million light-years beyond the Milky Way. Comet Pons-Brooks is a periodic visitor to the inner Solar System and less than 14 light-minutes away. Reaching its perihelion on April 21, this comet should be visible in the sky during the April 8 total solar eclipse.

Tomorrow's picture: at the End of the World

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