Comet McNaught Has Spiral Jets?


Oh, my Goodness!  lol!  Tell me this comet is not a craft.  The southern hemisphere is really being saturated with comet dust!  Anyone experiencing comet dust syndrome yet?  😀

From the cool Space Weather website, 2/06/07:  www.spaceweather.com

COMET MCNAUGHT: Now that the full Moon is out of the way, observers in the Southern Hemisphere are spotting Comet McNaught again. Last night, “it was visible to the unaided eye,” says Chris Picking of Wairarapa, New Zealand. A 3-minute exposure on his off-the-shelf digital camera produced this image:

picking1_strip.jpg

Current estimates of the comet’s brightness place it between 3rd and 4th magnitude. That’s about 2500 times dimmer than it was at maximum in mid-January. Ironically, as the comet fades it becomes an easier target for sensitive telescopes, and some interesting things are coming to light: A team of astronomers using the ESO‘s 3.5-meter New Technology Telescope in Chile have just announced their discovery of “strong spiral jets extending at least 32,000 km from the comet’s nucleus.” [Ref: C. Snodgrass et al., IAU Electronic Telegram 832.] Stay tuned for updates.

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