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Comet ISON's perihelion from the STEREO spacecraft

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NASA / STEREO / Emily Lakdawalla

Comet ISON's perihelion from the STEREO spacecraft
This animation includes images captured by STEREO Ahead on November 28 and 29. STEREO Ahead precedes Earth in its orbit. It happened to have a view on the comet almost directly perpendicular to the plane of the comet's orbit, the only spacecraft with such a perspective. As the comet approached the Sun, it was slightly in front of the Sun as seen from STEREO, so its tail was bright, its dust scattering light toward the spacecraft. As it departed, it was behind the Sun, at a significantly lower phase angle, so appeared dimmer. As time went on, the viewing geometry grew less favorable as the comet drew farther from the Sun, so it faded rapidly.

Here is the view from STEREO B.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. For uses not allowed by that license, contact us to request publication permission from the copyright holder: Emily Lakdawalla

Original image data dated on or about November 29, 2013

Explore related images: BMSIL, pretty pictures, comets, data art (was amateur image processing), the Sun, Comet C/2012 S1 ISON, animation, solar observing spacecraft

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