Astronomy Picture of the Day
    


Comet Leonards Tail Wag
<< Yesterday 9.01.2022 Tomorrow >>
Credit & Copyright: NASA, NRL, STEREO-A; Processing: B. Gallagher
Explanation: Why does Comet Leonard's tail wag? The featured time-lapse video shows the ion tail of Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) as it changed over ten days early last month. The video was taken by NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory-Ahead (STEREO-A) spacecraft that co-orbits the Sun at roughly the same distance as the Earth. Each image in this 29-degree field was subtracted from following image to create frames that highlight differences. The video clearly shows Comet Leonard's long ion tail extending, wagging, and otherwise being blown around by the solar wind -- a stream of fast-moving ions that stream out from the Sun. Since the video was taken, Comet Leonard continued plunging toward the Sun, reached its closest approach to the Sun between the orbits of Mercury and Venus, survived this closest approach without breaking apart, and is now fading as heads out of our Solar System.

Tuesday over Zoom: APOD editor to present the Best APOD Space Images of 2021

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
 < January 2022  >
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su





12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31





Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day

Publications with keywords: comet tail
Publications with words: comet tail
See also:
All publications on this topic >>