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The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Comet Siding Spring in infrared

Filed under pretty pictures, comets, WISE, comet Siding Spring

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Comet Siding Spring in infrared Comet Siding Spring, also known as C/2007 Q3, was first discovered in 2007 by Australian astronomers when it was near its closest approach to Earth and the Sun at 1.2 and 2.2 AU, respectively. The comet is on a hyperbolic orbit, so will not return again to the neighborhood of the Sun. The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer observed it on January 10, 2010, by which time it was far north of the ecliptic plane. WISE views the sky in infrared wavelengths. The comet is 10 times colder than the background stars, so its emission is mostly in longer wavelengths, giving it its red color in this false-color view. (In this image, 3.4-micron light is colored blue; 4.6-micron light is green; 12-micron light is orange; and 22-micron light is red.) Visit the JPL Near Earth Object Program website to see an interactive diagram of C/2007 Q3 (Siding Spring)'s orbit.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA

Original image data dated on or about January 10, 2010.

Most NASA images are in the public domain. Reuse of this image is governed by NASA's image use policy.


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