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.

April 16, 1997

A Star Cluster Through Hale-Bopp's Tail
Credit and Copyright:
A. Dimai, R. Volcan, D. Ghirardo (Col Druscie Obs., ACC)

Explanation: Comet Hale-Bopp continues to look impressive. The photograph above captured the comet on April 7th passing nearly in front of M34, a star cluster in the constellation of Perseus. Many of the stars in this open cluster can be seen through Comet Hale-Bopp's white dust tail. The bright blue ion tail now shows several streams. Now receding from both the Sun and the Earth, Comet Hale-Bopp should still remain an impressive sight for weeks to come as it slowly fades.

Tomorrow's picture: Pwyll: Icy Crater of Europa

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.