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Spitzer Spies a Comet Coma and Tail
Sig13 010a

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/DLR/NAU

Observation • September 10th, 2013 • sig13-010a


With the help of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered that what was thought to be a large asteroid called Don Quixote is in fact a comet.

Don Quixote's coma and tail -- features of comets -- as revealed in infrared light by Spitzer. The coma appears as a faint glow around the center of the body, caused by dust and gas. The tail points towards the right-hand side of Don Quixote, into the direction opposite of the sun.

About the Object

Don Quixote
Interplanetary Body > Comet

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Infrared 4.5 ┬Ám Spitzer IRAC