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Hubble Captures Spectacular View of Comet ISON and Galaxies

Hubble Captures Spectacular View of Comet ISON and Galaxies

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First Posted: Jul 26, 2013 06:46 PM EDT
Comet ISON
Could life have originated from space? It seems very likely. Scientists have discovered that comet collisions could be producing the building blocks of life, amino acids, in a type of "cosmic factory." Approaching the sun, Comet ISON floats against a seemingly infinite backdrop of numerous galaxies and a handful of foreground stars. (Photo : Hubble ESA/NASA)

As comet ISON is approaching the sun, it floats against a seemingly infinite backdrop of numerous galaxies and a handful of foreground stars in this image captured by the Hubble space telescope.

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The icy visitor, with its long gossamer tail, appears to be swimming like a tadpole through a deep pond of celestial wonders.

In reality, the comet is much, much closer. The nearest star to the sun is over 60,000 times farther away, and the nearest large galaxy to the Milky Way is over thirty billion times more distant. These vast dimensions are lost in this deep space Hubble exposure that visually combines our view of the universe from the very nearby to the extraordinarily far away.

In this composite image, background stars and galaxies were separately photographed in red and yellow-green light. Because the comet moved between exposures relative to the background objects, its appearance was blurred. The blurred comet photo was replaced with a single, black-and-white exposure. The images were taken with the Wide Field Camera 3 on April 30, 2013. -- NASA

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