APOD: 2021 October 22

Astronomy Picture Of The Day Explore the cosmos Every day, a new image or photograph of the fascinating universe is presented along with a short explanation by an astronomer. 2021 October 22

A Comet and a Crab

Jose Mtanous, Image Credit and Copyright

Explanation: The pretty view spans more than 2 degrees, or 4 full moons, and is filled with stars towards Taurus, the Bull. The faint fuzzy reddish glow of Messier 1 (M1) can be seen above and to the right of the center of the frame, also known by the Crab Nebula. Charles Messier, an 18th-century comet hunter, has named M1 the first item in his famous list of objects that are not comets. The image was taken from data images on October 11. However, there is a visible comet in it. Below center and left lies the faint greenish coma and dusty tail of periodic comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko, also known as Rosetta's comet. It became the final resting spot for robots from Earth in the 21st Century. Rosetta's comet, now returning to the inner Solar System, is now sweeping towards its next perihelion, or closest approach to Sun, on November 2. The comet is too faint to be visible by eyes alone. Its next perigee, or closest approach to Earth, will take place on November 12.