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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
  • Environmental Protection Agency opens
    On December 2, 1970, a new federal agency opens its doors. Created in response to the dawning realization that human activity can have major effects on the planet, the Environmental Protection Agency heralded a new age of government action on behalf of the environment. Concerns about pollution and ...Continue reading
  • The Temptations earn their final #1 hit with “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”
    On December 2, 1972, the Temptations earn the last of their four chart-topping hits when “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” reaches #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Over the course of their storied career, the Temptations placed 38 hit records in the pop top 40. Beyond their quantitative achievements, ...Continue reading
  • Napoleon crowned emperor
    In Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Napoleon I, the first Frenchman to hold the title of emperor in a thousand years. Pope Pius VII handed Napoleon the crown that the 35-year-old conqueror of Europe placed on his own head. The Corsican-born Napoleon, one of the greatest ...Continue reading
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