Comet C/2004 Q2 Machholz

A comet is discovered on August 27, 2004 by Donald Machholz of Colfax, California. Comet Machholz will be at its closest to Earth Jan. 5-6, 2005, when it will be 32 million miles (51 million kilometers) away. In January predicted magnitude could become as bright as fourth magnitude and can bee visible with naked eye.

The comet not only has a beautiful green atmosphere, but also two tails. One tail is the ion tail. It's made of electrically charged atoms and molecules (ions) blown away from the coma by the solar wind. This tail points straight away from the sun. The other tail is the dust tail. Comet dust is weightier than gas. It resists solar wind pressure and lingers behind the comet, tracing its orbit.

Comet Machholz skimmed past the Pleiades on January 7th - so close that the ion tail of the comet seemed to touch the star cluster.

Image is mosaic of two images, each combined of two 120 second exposure images (Megrez 80 APO, TeleVue 0,8x field flattener, Canon EOS 300D, 1600 ASA).


(C) Copyright 1996 - 2019 by Andjelko Glivar. All rights reserved. This material may not be published in any form without permission.


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