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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
  • First commercial jet makes test flight
    On July 27, 1949, the world’s first jet-propelled airliner, the British De Havilland Comet, makes its maiden test-flight in England. The jet engine would ultimately revolutionize the airline industry, shrinking air travel time in half by enabling planes to climb faster and fly higher. The Comet was ...Continue reading
  • Robespierre overthrown in France
    Maximilien Robespierre, the architect of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, is overthrown and arrested by the National Convention. As the leading member of the Committee of Public Safety from 1793, Robespierre encouraged the execution, mostly by guillotine, of more than 17,000 enemies of the ...Continue reading
  • Scientists successfully isolate insulin
    At the University of Toronto, Canadian scientists Frederick Banting and Charles Best successfully isolate insulin—a hormone they believe could prevent diabetes—for the first time. Within a year, the first human sufferers of diabetes were receiving insulin treatments, and countless lives were saved ...Continue reading
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