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Astro Bob

One weird-looking comet plus a constellation that can spell

16 Feb 2012, 19:50 UTC
One weird-looking comet plus a constellation that can spell Michael Jaeger
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Comet Garradd is one weird-looking comet. At the moment, because we see it high above the plane of our planet’s orbit, the two tails stick straight out of either side of its head. It’s not often you get to see … Continue reading →

The two-tailed comet photographed through a telescope on February 12. While two tails aren't unusual in a comet, seeing them exactly opposite one another isn't common. Credit: Michael Jaeger
Comet Garradd is one weird-looking comet. At the moment, because we see it high above the plane of our planet’s orbit, the two tails stick straight out of either side of its head. It’s not often you get to see a comet’s tails 180 degrees apart, but Garradd has been visible for so many months now, it’s like an entertainer remaking his image in hopes of rekindling that old fire.
The bluish gas tail points to the right; the dust tail to the left. According to the photographer, Michael Jaeger, the gas tail has been fading recently. You can see the comet as a fuzzy spot in a pair of binoculars under reasonably dark skies. The fainter tails require an 8-inch or larger telescope to see well.
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