This image shows comet Holmes (17P/Holmes) which has an orbit between Mars and Jupiter and can be seen about every seven years as a very faint object in the sky. The nucleus of a comet is a ‘dirty snowball’ just a few kilometres across and made of ice, rock and frozen gases. As the comet’s orbit approaches the Sun solar radiation heats the nucleus, evaporating the surface ices to produce a vast halo of gas and dust which streams off to form the distinctive tail. 'This image has caught the interior detail so well. The photographer took good advantage of the conditions – the comet’s a one-off chance.' Patrick Moore Born digital photograph entitled 'Comet Holmes' by Nick Howes taken on 18th February 2009. Taken with Atik 314L monochrome CCD camera; Orion ED80 refractor with RGB filters. Highly Commended in Our Solar System category of Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2009.
- Image reference: NHO0001
- © Nick Howes. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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