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.

November 13, 1996

Seven Jets from Comet Hale-Bopp
N. Thomas (MPAE) et al., 1.5-m La Silla Telescope, ESO

Explanation: Comet Hale-Bopp is turning out to be quite unusual. One reason is the great amount of jet activity at such a large distance from the Sun. In the above false-color image, no less than seven jets can be seen emanating from Hale-Bopp's coma. As a comet nears the Sun, it's surface warms causing jets of previously trapped gas and dust to stream away from the nucleus. Astronomers continue to study Comet Hale-Bopp's unusual jet activity and wonder how much about the early Solar System Hale-Bopp will teach them, and how bright Hale-Bopp will ultimately become.

Tomorrow's picture: Supernova Remnant and Neutron Star

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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