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Comet NEOWISE in the Skies

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Text, News From The Universe. July 14, 2020
 
Comet NEOWISE in the Skies.
 
Newly-discovered comet NEOWISE is thrilling professional and amateur astronomers alike this summer as it makes a rare pass by the Sun.
 
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Photo, The tail of a comet hangs against the deep dark of space.
 
Text, Astronauts on the International SPace Station had a unique view, and captured this image.
 
As the comet approached the Sun, its icy outer layers cooked off, creating a dramatic tail.

Photo, the comet's tail has grown long and wide, fanning out against a starry background.
 
NASA's Parker Solar Probe had a front row seat and captured this raw image.
 
In this same image from Parker, heightened contrast emphasizes that the comet actually has twin tails.
 
The lower tail is created when dust lifts off the surface of the comet's nucleus and trails behind.
 
The upper tail is the ion tail, made up of gases that have been ionized by losing electrons in the Sun's intense light.
 
Telescopes in backyards and in space are taking a final look as the comet travels back to the Outer Solar System. It will not pass this way again in our lifetimes.
 
This news was brought to you in part by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD