Science "In this Hubble Space Telescope composite image taken in April 2013, the sun-approaching Comet ISON floats against a seemingly infinite backdrop of numerous galaxies and a handful of foreground stars. The icy visitor, with its long gossamer tail, appears to be swimming like a tadpole through a deep pond of celestial wonders. The background stars and galaxies were separately photographed in red and yellow-green light with the Wide Field Camera 3. Because the comet moved between exposures relative to the background objects, its appearance was blurred. The blurred comet photo was replaced with a single, black-and-white exposure. This photo is one of the original images featured on ISONblog, a new online source offering unique analysis of Comet ISON by Hubble Space Telescope astronomers and staff at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md."
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Published on July 27th, 2013 | by James Ayre

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Comet ISON — New Image Of Rapidly Approaching Comet Taken By Hubble

Comet ISON — the rapidly approaching ‘comet of the century’, as some have dubbed it — is the subject of a spectacular newly released image. In the image, the the icy comet is seen against a stellar backdrop which includes a number of stars and galaxies.

"In this Hubble Space Telescope composite image taken in April 2013, the sun-approaching Comet ISON floats against a seemingly infinite backdrop of numerous galaxies and a handful of foreground stars. The icy visitor, with its long gossamer tail, appears to be swimming like a tadpole through a deep pond of celestial wonders. The background stars and galaxies were separately photographed in red and yellow-green light with the Wide Field Camera 3. Because the comet moved between exposures relative to the background objects, its appearance was blurred. The blurred comet photo was replaced with a single, black-and-white exposure. This photo is one of the original images featured on ISONblog, a new online source offering unique analysis of Comet ISON by Hubble Space Telescope astronomers and staff at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md." Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

“In this Hubble Space Telescope composite image taken in April 2013, the sun-approaching Comet ISON floats against a seemingly infinite backdrop of numerous galaxies and a handful of foreground stars. The icy visitor, with its long gossamer tail, appears to be swimming like a tadpole through a deep pond of celestial wonders. The background stars and galaxies were separately photographed in red and yellow-green light with the Wide Field Camera 3. Because the comet moved between exposures relative to the background objects, its appearance was blurred. The blurred comet photo was replaced with a single, black-and-white exposure. This photo is one of the original images featured on ISONblog, a new online source offering unique analysis of Comet ISON by Hubble Space Telescope astronomers and staff at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md.”
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

The image, which was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, is actually a composite image — background stars and galaxies were imaged separately in red and yellow-green light. As the comet moved some between exposures, in relation to the stars and galaxies objects, the appearance of the comet was blurred — so the blurred comet image was replaced with a single, black-and-white exposure.

Comet ISON has been increasing in brightness fairly steadily since its discovery — as you can see in these images here.

“Comet ISON is predicted to likely put on quite a show later this year — in late November the comet could possibly become as bright as the Full Moon, and even visible in broad daylight, according to some sources. Of course, comets are notoriously hard to predict, so we’ll have to wait and see with regards to the predictions.”




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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



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