Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

March 27, 1996

How Much is That Comet in the Window?
Picture Credit and Copyright: Johnny Horne, Fayetteville Publishing Co.

Explanation: The above true-color photo taken March 25th shows Comet Hyakutake passing below the stars of the Big Dipper. Many astronomy enthusiasts delight in helping people in their local community see the comet. Both Jerry Bonnell and I (RJN) from APOD have been so inclined - both now and when Comet Halley came by in 1986. During these sessions, many good questions are asked and occasionally a humorous situation will arise. One was with a little girl. She waited so patiently for her turn to look through the telescope, hardly able to contain her excitement. Finally her turn came. "Do you see the comet?" I asked. "Wow, wow, WOW!" She beamed. "You see it?" "No." One little boy seemed particularly bent on destruction. "This telescope looks like a big gun," he volunteered. "In some ways, it's even more powerful than a gun," I replied, hoping to challenge his imagination. "Really?" he countered. "Can we shoot down the comet?" "How expensive is the telescope?" is a fairly common question. But one time a real business-person showed up and, possibly feeling particularly affluent, asked "How much is the comet?"

Latest Comet Hyakutake images: JPL, Crni Vrh Observatory, Slovenia, Fayetteville Observer-Times, NASA's Night of the Comet
Tomorrow's picture: The Latest on Comet Hyakutake
Comet Hyakutake Finder Chart

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC