Remarkable comet Garradd (C2009/P1) has come to be known for two
From the perspective of earthbound comet watchers the tails are
visible on opposite sides of its greenish coma.
Seen here in a telescopic view, the
recognizable dust tail fans out to the right, trailing the comet nucleus
in its orbit.
Streaming away from the sunward direction,
a familiar bluish ion tail sweeps to the left.
But the comet also seems to have, at least temporarily,
sprouted a second ion tail recorded in
image from February 24.
Other comet imagers have
ion tail created as the plasma is
buffeted by the
magnetic fields in the solar wind.
Now moving more quickly
through northern skies,
on March 5th comet Garradd will reach its closest approach to
planet Earth, about 10.5 light-minutes distant.
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