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Comets are giant snowballs in space made of ice, frozen gases, rocks, and dust.
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11.19.2013

ISON Streaks Toward the Sun

Comet ISON shows off its tail in this three-minute exposure taken on 19 Nov. 2013 at 6:10 a.m. EST, using a 14-inch telescope located at the Marshall Space Flight Center. The comet is just nine days away from its close encounter with the sun; hopefully it will survive to put on a nice show during the first week of December. The star images are trailed because the telescope is tracking on the comet, which is now exhibiting obvious motion with respect to the background stars over a period of minutes.

At the time of this image, Comet ISON was some 44 million miles from the sun -- and 80 million miles from Earth -- moving at a speed of 136,700 miles per hour.

Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/Aaron Kingery

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