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Astronomy Picture of the Day
  • The Long Tails of Comet NEOWISE 
Image Credit & Copyright: Petr Horalek @petrhoralek 

Explanation: This Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) now sweeps through our fair planet's northern skies. Its long tails stretch across this deep skyview from Suchy Vrch, Czech Republic. Recorded on the night of July 13/14, the composite of untracked foreground and tracked and filtered sky exposures teases out details in the comet's tail not visible to the unaided eye. Faint structures extend to the top of the frame, over 20 degrees from the comet's bright coma. Pushed out by the pressure of sunlight itself, the broad curve of the comet's yellowish dust tail is easy to see by eye. But the fainter, more bluish tail is separate from the reflective comet dust. The fainter tail is an ion tail, formed as ions from the cometary coma are dragged outward by magnetic fields in the solar wind and fluoresce in the sunlight. Outbound NEOWISE is climbing higher in northern evening skies, coming closest to Earth on July 23rd.
This Day in History
  • Michael Brown is killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri
    On August 9, 2014, police officer Darren Wilson shoots and kills Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Protests and riots ensue in Ferguson and soon spread across the country. There are many different accounts of the incident, including the ...Continue reading
  • Charles Manson cult kills five, including actress Sharon Tate
    On August 9, 1969, members of Charles Manson’s cult kill five people in movie director Roman Polanski’s Beverly Hills, California, home, including Polanski’s pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate. Less than two days later, the group killed again, murdering supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his ...Continue reading
  • Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” is published
    Henry David Thoreau’s classic Walden, or, A Life in the Woods is required reading in many classrooms today. But when it was first published—on August 9, 1854—it sold just around 300 copies a year. The American transcendentalist writer’s work is a first-person account of his experimental time of ...Continue reading
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