李奥纳德彗星的超长彗尾

2021年12月30日

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The Further Tail of Comet Leonard
Image Credit & Copyright:
Daniele Gasparri

Explanation: Comet Leonard, brightest comet of 2021, is at the lower left of these two panels captured on December 29 in dark Atacama desert skies. Heading for its perihelion on January 3 Comet Leonard’s visible tail has grown. Stacked exposures with a wide angle lens (also displayed in a reversed B/W scheme for contrast), trace the complicated ion tail for an amazing 60 degrees, with bright Jupiter shining near the horizon at lower right. Material vaporizing from Comet Leonard’s nucleus, a mass of dust, rock, and ices about 1 kilometer across, has produced the long tail of ionized gas fluorescing in the sunlight. Likely flares on the comet’s nucleus and buffeting by magnetic fields and the solar wind in recent weeks have resulted in the tail’s irregular pinched and twisted appearance. Still days from its closest approach to the Sun, Comet Leonard’s activity should continue. The comet is south of the Solar System’s ecliptic plane as it sweeps through the southern constellation Microscopium.

Tomorrow’s picture: pixels in space


李奥纳德彗星的超长彗尾
影像提供与版权:
Daniele Gasparri

说明: 这幅12月29日摄于阿塔卡马沙漠幽暗天空下的双图板的影像,主题是2021年最明亮的彗星李奥纳德。往1月3日最近太阳位置前进的李奥纳德彗星,可见的彗尾持续增长。在这幅叠合多张广角照片的影像里(黑白图板用以强化其对比),它形状复杂的离子尾绵延了令人叹为观止的60度视野,而右下方的地平线附近则可见到明亮的木星。从李奥纳德彗星1公里宽、由尘埃、岩石和水冰聚成的彗核蒸发出之物质,形成在阳光中散发萤光的长长离子尾。可能因其彗核有偶发性的爆发,再加上太阳磁场及太阳风的推挤,这颗彗星的彗尾最近数星期出现不规则的窄颈和扭曲。李奥纳德彗星仍要过数天才抵达近日点,因此它的活动预期会持续。目前这颗彗星位在太阳系的黄道面之南,往南天的显微镜座前进。

明日的图片: pixels in space

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