JOHN CHUMACK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN CHUMACK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fragment C of comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 streaks past the Ring Nebula (designations Messier 57, M57, NGC 6720). The comet broke into fragments on its re-entry into the inner solar system on May 1, 2006, a few days before this photo was taken, but its disintegration had begun as far back as 1995. Fragment C, seen here, is the largest and the presumed principal remnant of the original nucleus. Photographed with a 16 reflector and ST-9 CCD camera; 30 second exposure for each RGB colour; processed with Maxim DL, CCDSoft, and Adobe Photoshop.
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