Comet Garradd and Star Cluster

Comet Garradd Has Close Encounter with Star Cluster

The cosmic close encounter featured the comet Garradd and bright globular star cluster M92. It was photographed by astronomer Conrad Jung with the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, Calif. Jung used a 5-inch refractor telescope to snap a 10-minute exposure of comet Garradd as it zipped close by M92 on February 3. Both objects were in the constellation Hercules at the time. While comet Garradd and star cluster appeared close to each other, it was only a trick of perspective. Star cluster M92 is actually about 27,000 light-years from Earth, while comet is currently zipping through our inner solar system. From Earth’s vantage point, the two objects were just 0.5 degrees apart in the night sky on February 3. The comet will make its closest approach to Earth in March, when it will fly within 1.3 astronomical units of our planet, according to the skywatching website Comet Garradd is formally known as C2009 P1 and was discovered on August 13, 2009 by Australian astronomer G.J. Garradd.