The human race has been gazing up at the starry skies for millennia, but now we have all sorts of tools and machinery that let us look even more closely and with more detail. The scientists of NASA leveraged their Hubble Space Telescope on April 30 to take give photos of the Comet ISON in deep space, stiching together these images to create the photo that you see here.
The comet is backdropped by the beauty of distant galaxies and some stars in the foreground. This image, according to Josh Sokol from Baltimore’s Space Telescope Science Institute, is a “simulation of what our eyes, with their ability to dynamically adjust to brighter and fainter objects, would see if we could look up at the heavens with the resolution of Hubble.” He works at the institute responsible for operating the Hubble Telescope.
What makes Comet ISON of particular interest, though, is that it is going to have a very close encounter with our sun on November 28, coming just within 724,000 miles of it. As it whips around its orbit, it could shine as bright in the night sky as a full moon.
Many comets don’t survive the trip around the sun, getting burned up, by Comet ISON has a chance, even if comets are notoriously unpredictable. To learn a little more about comets in general (and what happens when they close to our sun), and about Comet ISON in particular, watch the embedded video below.