NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory Watches Comet ATLAS As Solar Orbiter Crosses Its Tail
NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO-A spacecraft, captured these images of comet ATLAS as it swooped by the Sun from May 25 – June 1. During the observations and outside STEREO’s field of view, ESA/NASA’s Solar Orbiter spacecraft crossed one of the comet’s two tails.
In the animated image, ATLAS emerges from the top of the frame and approaches the Sun — off camera to left — against gusts of solar wind. Its dust tail, which reflects sunlight, appears white. Mercury is also visible as a bright dot emerging from the left against the stationary starfield. The vertical streaks in the image are artifacts created by saturation from bright background stars.
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