comet fragment

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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comet fragment

Post by postmarc » Tue May 23, 2006 4:05 pm

Concerning today's movie of the large fragment of Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 as it passed the Earth, I always thought that the direction of a comet's tail was determined by solar winds. In today's movie the tail was directly behind the path of the comet. Is it just a chance that SW3 was heading directly toward the sun? Or did it just appear that way from a vantage point on Earth. I wonder if Hubble or any of the other space platforms got a look at SW3.

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Post by Qev » Tue May 23, 2006 5:56 pm

Since the comet is currently heading sunward, the tail does seem to 'trail behind' in the path of the comet. Once it starts rounding the Sun (assuming it survives that long), you'll see the tail swing around to point the 'wrong' way. :)
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Post by harry » Wed May 24, 2006 9:08 am


Qev if you get the image at that point in time, i'd like to see it

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