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New comet gets astronomers' attention with intricate tail structure
by Staff Writers
Stony Brook, N.Y. (UPI) Dec 08, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

A telescope in Hawaii has captured images of the intricate tail of a comet named Lovejoy as it moves toward its closest approach to the sun, astronomers say.

The Subaru Telescope on the big island of Hawaii, with its combination of a wide field of view and high spatial resolution, provided a clear delineation of the complex, wiggling streams in the comet's tail, they said.

Astronomers at Stony Book University in New York used the telescope to capture the image Dec. 3, when Comet Lovejoy was 50 million miles from Earth and 80 million miles from the sun, they said.

Astronomers and sky watchers have turned their attention to Lovejoy after Comet ISON did not survive its closest encounter with the sun at the end of November.

The visibility of Comet Lovejoy -- named for Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy, who discovered it in September -- has been increasing in the eastern sky and the comet will reach its closest point to the sun Dec. 22.

However, astronomers said, Lovejoy isn't expected to become as bright as ISON's maximum.


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Comet ISON is confirmed dead after brush with Sun
Washington (AFP) Dec 03, 2013
A comet that grabbed attention worldwide for being likened to a massive snowball in space did not survive its brush with the Sun last week, NASA confirmed on Tuesday. "Though the exact time of ISON's death is uncertain it does appear to be no more. All that is left is a cloud of debris without a nucleus," C Alex Young of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center told AFP in an email. Dubbed t ... read more

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