NASA Spacecraft Sees Comet, Earth And Mercury Together - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

NASA Spacecraft Sees Comet, Earth And Mercury Together

KHQ.COM - A new video from a NASA spacecraft studying the sun has captured an unexpected sight: a wandering comet posing with the planets Earth and Mercury.

The cosmic view comes from one of NASA's twin Stereo spacecraft that constantly watch the sun for signs of solar flares and other space weather events. It shows Mercury and Earth as they appeared with the Comet Pan-STARRS, a comet that is currently visible from the Northern Hemisphere during evening twilight.

The probe captured the video of Comet Pan-STARRS, Earth and Mercury together while observing the sun from March 9 to March 12.

According to a NASA description, the video "shows the comet and its fluttering tail as it moves through space." The Earth appears as a bright stationary object on the right side of the video, while Mercury is visible as a moving light on the left side.  [How to see Comet Pan-STARRS]

The sun is actually out of the frame in the Stereo-B spacecraft's video, but its solar wind is visible as a stream of material, NASA officials explained.  Meanwhile, the view of Comet Pan-STARRS from space is giving scientists a wealth of data to review, they added.

"Comet scientists say the tail looks quite complex and it will take computer models to help understand exactly what's happening in STEREO's observations," agency officials said in a video description. "The comet should remain visible to the naked eye through the end of March."

Comet Pan-STARRS is currently visible to stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere just after sunset. To see the comet, look low on the western horizon just after the sun has gone down. Comet Pan-STARRS can appear as a bright head with a wispy trail, weather permitting, though some stargazers have said the bright evening twilight can make spotting it tricky.

The Comet Pan-STARRS was discovered in June 2011 by astronomers using the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) in Hawaii. The comet's official name is C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS).

Scientists estimate that Comet Pan-STARRS takes more than 100 million years to orbit the sun once. The comet crossed into the Northern Hemisphere evening sky last week after months of being visible to observers in the Southern Hemisphere.

NASA's twin Stereo A and B spacecraft (the name is short for Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) observe the sun in tandem to provide unparalleled views of how material from solar eruptions makes its way to Earth. The spacecraft launched in 2006 and are part of a fleet of sun-watching spacecraft that monitor solar storms.

Comet Pan-STARRS is one of several comets gracing the night sky in 2013. Pan-STARRS was joined by the Comet Lemmon earlier this year when both were visible together in the Southern Hemisphere sky. Later this year, the sungrazing Comet ISON could put on a potentially dazzling display when it makes its closest approach to the sun in late November.

 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Detectives identify woman found in Spokane River

    Detectives identify woman found in Spokane River

    Thursday, September 20 2018 8:35 PM EDT2018-09-21 00:35:31 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Update: Detectives have identified the woman found in the Spokane River September 15 just hours after releasing a rending of what she may have looked like. Detectives continue to work to determine what occurred prior to her death.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Update: Detectives have identified the woman found in the Spokane River September 15 just hours after releasing a rending of what she may have looked like. Detectives continue to work to determine what occurred prior to her death.

    >>
  • Suge Knight pleads to manslaughter over fatal confrontation

    Suge Knight pleads to manslaughter over fatal confrontation

    Thursday, September 20 2018 5:16 PM EDT2018-09-20 21:16:55 GMT

    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight has pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and after he ran over two men, killing one, nearly four years ago.    The Death Row Records co-founder entered the plea Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court and has agreed to serve 28 years in prison.

    >>

    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight has pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and after he ran over two men, killing one, nearly four years ago.    The Death Row Records co-founder entered the plea Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court and has agreed to serve 28 years in prison.

    >>
  • School bus drops off kids over an hour late after driver was lost

    School bus drops off kids over an hour late after driver was lost

    Thursday, September 20 2018 10:24 PM EDT2018-09-21 02:24:04 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Durham Bus Services has had a rough start to the school year. Less, than one week in, Durham had to answer for a bus driver who dropped off a kindergartner at the wrong bus stop. Then, they had to respond to parents' concerns about overcrowding on school buses. On Thursday, they were once again addressing a serious parent concern.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Durham Bus Services has had a rough start to the school year. Less, than one week in, Durham had to answer for a bus driver who dropped off a kindergartner at the wrong bus stop. Then, they had to respond to parents' concerns about overcrowding on school buses. On Thursday, they were once again addressing a serious parent concern.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Unreleased Chris Cornell songs to be released in November

    Unreleased Chris Cornell songs to be released in November

    Friday, September 21 2018 12:29 AM EDT2018-09-21 04:29:16 GMT

    NEW YORK (AP) - New Chris Cornell music is being released more than a year after his death. Cornell's widow Vicky is behind the new album "Chris Cornell," as well as a four-disc box set. Both will be released November 16. The first track from both projects is titled "When Bad Does Good ." Vicky Cornell says it came from her husband's archives.    

    >>

    NEW YORK (AP) - New Chris Cornell music is being released more than a year after his death. Cornell's widow Vicky is behind the new album "Chris Cornell," as well as a four-disc box set. Both will be released November 16. The first track from both projects is titled "When Bad Does Good ." Vicky Cornell says it came from her husband's archives.    

    >>
  • Black Eyed Peas tackle gun violence, immigration in videos

    Black Eyed Peas tackle gun violence, immigration in videos

    Friday, September 21 2018 12:20 AM EDT2018-09-21 04:20:33 GMT
    Black Eyed Peas - FacebookBlack Eyed Peas - Facebook

    NEW YORK (AP) - The Black Eyed Peas tackle gun violence at schools and immigration in two new music videos for their song, "Big Love." The trio released the videos Friday. Proceeds from the song will benefit the student-led March for Our Lives organization, calling for stricter gun laws, and Families Belong Together, a protest against the Trump administration policy of separating children from families after they are detained illegally crossing the U.S. border.   

    >>

    NEW YORK (AP) - The Black Eyed Peas tackle gun violence at schools and immigration in two new music videos for their song, "Big Love." The trio released the videos Friday. Proceeds from the song will benefit the student-led March for Our Lives organization, calling for stricter gun laws, and Families Belong Together, a protest against the Trump administration policy of separating children from families after they are detained illegally crossing the U.S. border.   

    >>
  • Police: Suspect dead after shootout near Miami airport

    Police: Suspect dead after shootout near Miami airport

    Thursday, September 20 2018 11:54 PM EDT2018-09-21 03:54:05 GMT

    MIAMI (AP) - Authorities in Florida say a wanted suspect is dead after he used an assault rifle to fire upon officers near Miami International Airport.    News outlets report the suspect was fatally shot a few blocks away from the airport Thursday night. Officials did not immediately release the identity of the man. It is unclear why the suspect was wanted.    

    >>

    MIAMI (AP) - Authorities in Florida say a wanted suspect is dead after he used an assault rifle to fire upon officers near Miami International Airport.    News outlets report the suspect was fatally shot a few blocks away from the airport Thursday night. Officials did not immediately release the identity of the man. It is unclear why the suspect was wanted.    

    >>