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Comet-NEOWISE-over-The-Verde-Valley-Arizona.jpg
Comet NEOWISE over The Verde Valley, Arizona.  This evening (July 16, 2020) started as a cloudy one, but a bit of patience (plus hurried migration to a different site) paid off with as the dissipating monsoon storm finally gave us a nice view as the sunset light faded.  NEOWISE is getting closer to Earth each day now, and thus appears a bit larger each night, with a more pronounced tail.  Interestingly, the tail now has a visible, blue-tinted offshoot that extends, uncurved, directly away from the direction of the Sun; this is the trail of ions caused by ultraviolet light hitting the gases (the coma) surrounding the comet.  This image was captured in the Coconino National Forest near Cottonwood, Arizona.<br />
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Image ©2020 James D. Peterson