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Comets – Facts for Kids
People once thought that comets were the messengers of major disasters. Today we know that they are visitors from the most distant regions of the Solar System. Other stars have exoplanets and they seem to have exocomets too.
*Comet ISON flies past Mars*
Comet ISON flew past Mars today (October 1). The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) attempted to get pictures of this close fly-by, but it will take a few days for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to get the data home and see how successful the attempt was. MRO and the Mars rovers are among the missions which JPL runs under contract from NASA. They have enough money to keep them going for a time, but will be affected if the government shutdown continues after that.
*A comet and a spiral galaxy*
English astrophotographer Damian Peach has released a fabulous image taken on September 29. It shows both Comet C/2012 V2 LINEAR and the bright spiral galaxy NGC 2997 in the constellation Antlia. They look like neighbors. However the galaxy is vastly bigger than a comet - it's just that it's 38 million light years away! http://www.pinterest.com/pin/250090585531153532/
For a variety of astronomy images, follow me on Pinterest at: http://pinterest.com/astrobella/
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I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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