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Update on Comet ISON from Mars

3 Oct 2013, 15:06 UTC
Update on Comet ISON from Mars
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/releases/ison.php

Guest post by Dr. Frank Summers

As an update to last week's blog post (Martian Encounter), the first images of Comet ISON taken from Mars have been released. Click on the image accompanying this blog post to see them in high resolution. But, even then, these are the kind of images that only an astronomer can love. Perhaps some explanation will help others to appreciate them as well.

As expected, these images came from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The rovers Curiosity and Opportunity also took images, but no detections have been announced. The rover images are routinely posted in raw form, and a discussion thread among astronomy image enthusiasts has been examining those in detail to try to spot Comet ISON.

The MRO images show not much more than a dot, but dots in astronomy can be really important. Remember that images of planets around other stars and of distant galaxies in the farthest reaches of the universe are similarly also just dots. Not to imply that Comet ISON rises to that level of importance, but rather to exemplify that the cutting edge of ...

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