Photo Open Access

Hello Comet, shall we dance?, by Robert Barsa, Slovakia

Barsa, Robert; IAU, OAE

Third place in the 2021 IAU OAE Astrophotography Contest, category Comets.

This beautiful and poetic image taken from Slovakia in July 2020 captures the comet C/2020 F3 (Neowise). The direction of the tails of the comet provides a clue as to the position of the Sun. In the past, the appearance of a comet in the skies could be accompanied by apprehension and even fear from those who did not know what these objects really are. Through careful observations and the applications of knowledge from physics, chemistry and geology, we now understand that comets are objects left over from the earliest days when the Solar System formed. The most distinctive features of a comet are the bluish ion (gas) tail, and whitish dust tail, which can extend for tens of millions of kilometres. These distinctive features, easily observable with the unaided eye together with an understanding of the science, are no longer cause for fear, rather they help us understand the history of our Solar System, and bring awe, joy and contemplation, as portrayed in this image.

Credit: Robert Barsa/IAU OAE

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