Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features Comet 46P/Wirtanen, which made its closest approach to Earth on December 16.
The green color surrounding the comet is produced by molecules that are ionized by sunlight. Comet 46P’s tail extends up to the left, while the diagonal stripes across the image are star trails.
Scientists will continue to track the comet while it is still visible over the next few weeks.
This image is a composite of 132 individual photos taken by Wouter Van Reeven at ESA’s European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) on December 14, 2018.
Image Credit: European Space Agency