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MESSENGER observes comet ISON

MESSENGER observes comet ISON

NASA / JHUAPL / CIW

MESSENGER observes comet ISON
MESSENGER observed comet ISON from its unique perspective in November 2013. On November 20, 2013, ISON made its closest approach to Mercury, about 36.2 million kilometers) from MESSENGER and 67.8 million kilometers from the Sun. The image has been slightly magnified and smoothed to enhance the faint tail of the comet. The tail was oriented at an angle to MESSENGER at the time and is foreshortened in this image; however, some faint structure can still be seen.

Originally posted on the MESSENGER website.

See also this image from the MESSENGER website of the first detection of comet ISON.

And this companion image of comet Encke from November 17, 2013.

Here is an animation showing the viewing geometry of MESSENGER's observations of Encke and ISON:

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

Original image data dated on or about November 20, 2013

Explore related images: pretty pictures, comets, astronomy by planetary missions, MESSENGER

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