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THURSDAY, December 01, 2022
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Extraordinary photo taken over Doi Inthanon shows passing comet and Nasa telescope launch plume

Extraordinary photo taken over Doi Inthanon shows passing comet and Nasa telescope launch plume

WEDNESDAY, December 29, 2021

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) posted a unique photo of Comet Leonard passing Earth just as the James Webb Space Telescope was being launched into orbit. The photo was taken at Thailand’s famed Doi Inthanon National Park on Monday.

The rare yet thrilling atmospheric event was photographed by Matipon Tangmatitham from the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand.

“Which one of these two streaks is a comet? Although they both have comet-like features, the lower streak is the only real comet,” Nasa said.

Extraordinary photo taken over Doi Inthanon shows passing comet and Nasa telescope launch plume

The lower streak shows the coma and tail of Comet Leonard, a city-sized block of rocky ice, passing through the inner solar system as it continues its looping orbit around the Sun.

Comet Leonard recently passed its closest point to both Earth and Venus and will reach the Sun next week.

The comet, still visible to the unaided eye, has developed a long and changing tail in recent weeks.

Extraordinary photo taken over Doi Inthanon shows passing comet and Nasa telescope launch plume

In contrast, the upper streak is the launch plume of the Ariane V rocket that lifted the James Webb telescope into space two days ago.

Nasa’s largest and most powerful space telescope so far will orbit the Sun near the Earth-Sun L2 point and is scheduled to start observing the universe in the summer of 2022 as it peeks further into the past.

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