That was taken on Apr. 4, 2013 by Swedish astrophotographer Göran Strand, who traveled about 70 kilometers north of the city of Östersund to escape light-polluted skies. It’s a 30-minute exposure, and the detail is amazing. You can see the spiral arms of the galaxy and its two dwarf elliptical companions, and of course the comet is magnificent. Our angle on the tail is now such that we see it spread out, fan-shaped; the broader part looks yellow-red to my eye, while the sharp edge to the right looks bluer. The red part would be due to dust (reflecting and reddening the Sun's light), and blue from ionized gas glowing like a neon sign. Different types of tails are common in comets.
Strand has more breath-taking astrophotography on his blog, and I heartily recommend perusing them. It will remind you that there is good and beauty in the world.
TODAY IN SLATE
More Than Scottish Pride
What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture
Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You
Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows
Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?
The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.
Happy Constitution Day!
Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.