[at-l] New Comet

David Addleton dfaddleton at gmail.com
Mon Jun 7 11:55:10 CDT 2010

Hikers may get an eyeful!

A new comet is brightening and is now expected to become visible to
the unaided eye later this month. C/2009 R1 (McNaught) is already
showing an impressive tail and is currently visible through
binoculars. The above image, taken yesterday from the Altamira
Observatory in the Canary Islands and spanning about five degrees,
shows an impressive green coma and a long ion tail in front of distant
star trails. Although predicting the brightness of comets is
notoriously difficult, current estimates place Comet McNaught as
becoming visible to unaided northern hemisphere observers in late
June, before sunrise, and in early July, after sunset. Discovered by
Robert McNaught last year, the sun-orbiting iceberg will pass the
Earth next week and will continue to melt and shed debris as it closes
in on the Sun until early July. After reaching about half of the
Earth-Sun distance from the Sun, the comet should fade rapidly as it
then heads out of the inner Solar System.

from APOD for today: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/

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