This weekend NASA’s Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft captured comet Lemmon at it traped across the face of the Sun.
Its like 3D! Of course that is the whole point of the STEREO spacecraft. The two nearly identical spacecraft – one ahead of Earth in its orbit, the other trailing behind – are normally used to trace the flow of energy and matter from the Sun to Earth. STEREO has revealed the 3D structure of coronal mass ejections; violent eruptions of matter from the sun that can disrupt satellites and power grids.
We haven’t known this much about the star that gives us life ever. But the images they provide are pretty spectacular as well.
Hopefully, we will get some great shots of ISON from STEREO as well. Wow, I feel like I am back in the Navy using all these acronyms.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +
No, that isn’t a mis-spelling. Comet Lemmon should be visible in the north for the next month or so.
Image credit: Gabe Brammer
Gabe’s picture above is a fantastic shot of Pan-STARRS at the bottom, a meteor in the middle and comet Lemmon on top.
Gabe has obviously been blessed by the astrophotography and weather deities. However, as you can see Lemmon will be a binocular object like Pan-STARRS.
This is also Lemmon’s first recorded trip through the solar system. Lemmon has a very long orbital period of at least 11,000 years. It also has an eccentric orbit traveling mostly perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic.
If you have a clear southern exposure along with some binoculars (and some assistance from the gods noted above) you should be able to see a Lemmon in the sky.
Look for the greenish-blue blob in the sky.
It is a really good year for comets (at least for our friends in the southern hemisphere), so if the skies are clear, take a look to the south around sunset to try and catch another comet.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +. If you need help with any patent, trademark, or copyright issue, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.