Home / NewTech / NASA’s Parker Solar Probe offers a breathtaking view of the comet Neowise

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe offers a breathtaking view of the comet Neowise



This NASA image from the Parker Solar Probe uses processed data to show the twin tails of the comet Neowise.

NASA / Johns Hopkins APL / Marine Research Laboratory / Parker Solar Probe / Guillermo Stenborg

Were early risers on earth Take photos of Neowise, a rare comet that can be seen with the naked eye. NASAs Parker Solar Probe didn̵

7;t have to set an alarm. The spaceship was the perfect place to take a Neowise portrait on July 5th.

Parker’s main job is to study the sun, but traveling through space has its advantages. “The position of Parker Solar Probe in space gave the spacecraft an incomparable view of the comet’s twin tails when it was particularly active immediately after its closest approach to the sun, called perihelion,” NASA said in a statement on Friday.

NASA released two versions of the image, one with processed data to highlight the details of the comet’s tails, and one that was left unprocessed with sunlight outside the frame.

The Parker Solar Probe’s WISPR instrument captured this unprocessed view of the comet Neowise with the sun from the image on the left.

NASA / Johns Hopkins APL / Marine Research Laboratory / Parker Solar Probe / Brendan Gallagher

Parker’s WISPR (Wide-Field Imager for Parker Solar Probe) instrument gives scientists a wonderfully detailed insight into the comet’s twin tails. The larger tail is made of dust. The smaller, weaker tail above is a different story.

“The upper tail is the ion tail, which consists of gases that have been ionized by the loss of electrons in intense sunlight,” said NASA. “These ionized gases are struck by the solar wind – the constant outflow of magnetized material through the sun – and form the ion tail that extends directly away from the sun.”

A close look at the ion tail shows that it can actually be split into two ion tails, although researchers are still examining it to determine if the comet actually has three tails.

For more information on how to spot the comet (full name “C / 2020 F3 NEOWISE) yourself, go to our Neowise Viewing Guide.


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