GALEX Sees Comet Machholz

GALEX Sees Comet Machholz

The figure shows a GALEX NUV grism observation of comet Machholz, recorded on March 1, 2005. The different colors in the image represent different intensities, with black being the lowest, purple a little higher, and yellow the highest. The large, round, "purple haze" is emission from the hydroxyl molecule (chemical symbol, "OH"), and is centered on the large yellowish dot towards the upper left. The smaller yellow dot, just below and to the right of that, is emission from the molecule "CS." Emission between the two dots is from other material. The stars in the field appear as streaks because their light is spread out by the grism as well. The long, curved dust tail is completely invisible because the comet's UV emissions totally outshine it. Emission from atomic carbon was also detected in the GALEX FUV grism data.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/U. Washington/J. Morgenthaler

Release Date

July 27, 2006

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