A Comet’s Tail

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks pictured from March 6 (top) to March 14th (bottom) in 2024.

A comet‘s tail changes from day-to-day depending on how much material the comet is losing and how strong the solar wind it’s facing is. This image sequence shows Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks over nine days in 2024 from March 6th (top) through March 14th (bottom). The variations in the comet’s appearance are striking; some days show nearly no tail while others have long plumes with swirls of turbulence. It’s a reminder that, even if they appear unchanging in the moment you see one, a comet is in constant flux. (Image credit: Shengyu Li & Shaining; via APOD)

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