Wednesday, January 17, 2007

McNaught's Comet - with a tail 3 million km long!

I am amazed that the McNaught Comet is visible to the naked eye here in Bakers Hill, Western Australia.
It is not much more than a pinprick in the dying evening light, but I can see its shape and actually see it moving, albeit very, very slowly as it drops towards the horizon.
What amazes me are the statistics I have read.
Just fancy, I am standing in the garden with my camera, looking up at the comet's steamy tail which could measure up to 3,000,000 kilometres in length.
I discover that the icy core is only 300 meters across, yet the fuzzy coma surrounding the ice core (which measures only 300 meters), is around 100,000 kilometers across.
Those figures are mind-boggling.
I don't know why but I expected the comet to be orange but it was pure white, its brilliant light reflected from the sun.
Photo : M Muir


Anonymous said...

Great photo Mum! I'm impressed with your camera skills.

Proud son:)

Jennie said...

Your son is right Margaret - you are so lucky to get such a lovely picture! We live in Bowning, NSW, had a magnificent view of the comet on Monday night, last night was cloudy, tonight it's back in a clear sky, much like your photo - but it was best on Monday night! I am so happy to have seen it - I missed Halley's Comet, but from what I have read, this one is MUCH more spectacular! thanks for the picture & love your blog - Cheers, Jennie

Julie said...

Yes fantastic piccie, im in Kojonup down the track and we can see it each evening. I saw it on Perth on the weekend it seemed brighter there?

Anonymous said...

We were visiting WA from England and saw the comet from a lookout tower at our B&B in Toodyay - a really fantastic view, three nights running. Steve & Chris

Margaret Muir said...

Hi Steve and Chris,
Thanks for the comment.
I hope you enjoyed your stay in WA.
At the moment it's just too jolly hot (for this ex Pom anyway - the last three days over 40C in Perth and it's always about 4 - 5 degrees hotter out here!).