Most comets aren’t blue but Comet c/2016 R2 is Blue AF & its out by Mars headed inbound and around the Sun. It appears to have a gang of objects around it. Asteroids? Planetary objects? One can only guess at this point. The photos really only establish that things are there with Comet R2.
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SUPERIOR CONJUNCTION OF VENUS: Looking for Venus? Don’t. Today, Venus is passing almost directly behind the sun–a blinding event astronomers call “superior conjunction.” This is a key moment of transition as Venus shifts from a “morning star” in 2017 to an “evening star” in 2018. Using a coronagraph to block the sun’s glare, SOHO (the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) is monitoring the close encounter. See for yourself.
GEOMAGNETIC UNREST: Today, Earth is inside a stream of solar wind blowing faster than 500 km/s (1.1 million mph). As a result, auroras are ringing the Arctic Circle. Rayann Elzein photographed the display at 4 o’clock this morning Finland time:
“After a week of bad weather, I was very excited to see clear skies in the Finnish Lapland, coinciding with the arrival of the solar wind,” says Elzein. “For a while, the auroras were strong and fast.”
The solar wind is flowing from a northern hole in the sun’s atmosphere in a fan-shaped spray wide enough to influence Earth for another day, at least. Arctic sky watchers should remain alert for auroras on Jan. 9-10 as geomagnetic unrest continues. Free: Aurora Alerts.
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
STRANGE BLUE COMET: Beyond the orbit of Mars, blue Comet PanSTARRS (C/2016 R2) is behaving strangley. Active jets of gaseous material are spewing from the comet’s core, feeding a chaotic tail marked by rough swirls and an unusual rectangular “knee.” Michael Jäger photographed it from St. Oswald, Austria, on Jan. 6th:
“I took 30 shots in 90 minutes, which allowed me to make a nice animation,” says Jäger.
What’s happening to this comet? Blue is the telltale clue. That’s the color of ionized carbon monoxide (CO+) fluorescing in the the near-vacuum of interplanetary space.
Comet PanSTARRS has abundant stores of CO. Last month, astronomers K. Wierzchos and M. Womack of the University of South Florida used the Arizona Radio Observatory’s 10-m Submillimeter Telescope at Mount Graham to detect as many as 4.7 x 1028 CO molecules emerging from the comet’s core every second. “This comet appears to be very CO-rich,” they wrote in International Astronomical Union telegram CBET 4464.
Carbon monoxide can make a comet behave strangely because it is extremely volatile. CO can sublimate (change suddenly from solid to gas) at temperatures as low as -248 C (25 K). Only a little bit of sunlight is therefore required to turn deposits of frozen CO into wild jets and billowing clouds.
“The last notable comet with high CO was Comet Humason in 1962, so this is quite a rare sight,” notes veteran comet observer Michael Mattiazzo of Australia. “It will be very interesting to watch Comet PanSTARRS as it makes its closest approach to the sun (2.6 AU) in May 2018.” Stay tuned!
for photos and animations of comet
took the GIF of comet PanSTARRS c/2016 R2 taken by Michael Jäger and highlighted 8 other moving objects in the field using Adobe Illustrator. Im not sure what any of them are…but I was fascinated by the amount of movement in them, which is now much more visible in this GIF.
I may have found about 4 or 5 more very faint moving objects… you can only really see them when the animation is viewed in full screen…
Posted by eredhage 2018-01-09 21:52:20
Looks like you managed to find a few more than we did in our comments on Michaels original post. Very cool to see this!
This is minor planet (5858) Borovitskia 16m3
Posted by jeanc567 2018-01-08 18:53:38
cool #nasa videos- Strange Blue Comet in our Solar System has Asteroid/Planetary body friends. #Space #videos #NASA #News #SpaceVideos