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Infrared View of a Comet and Distant Galaxy
Infrared View of a Comet and Distant Galaxy (click to enlarge)
 
 

Infrared View of a Comet and Distant Galaxy
Date: 20 May 2014

NASA's NEOWISE mission captured this series of pictures of comet C/2012 K1 -- also known as comet Pan-STARRS -- as it swept across our skies. The comet is relatively close to us -- it was only about 143 million miles (230 million kilometers) from Earth when this picture was taken. It is seen passing a much more distant spiral galaxy, called NGC 3726, which is about 55 million light-years from Earth, or 2 trillion times farther away than the comet.

The image was made from data collected by the two infrared channels onboard the NEOWISE spacecraft, with the longer-wavelength channel (centered at 4.5 microns) mapped to red and the shorter-wavelength channel (3.4 microns) mapped to cyan.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech



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Last Updated: 3 Jul 2014