The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), a spacecraft that studies the sun, has been taking rather spectacular photos of comet McNaught. See here, for example. But the recent news that’s been exciting everyone are the comet pictures from the newer twin-spacecraft Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatories (STEREO), such as this one of the comet’s tail (the sharp lines are artifacts due to bright objects in the background):
Click the image for a larger version. They put together a number of images to make a rather impressive movie of the comet, with a great deal of detail in a sort of fly through (or by) the tail. Click here for the low resolution mpg version, and here for a medium resolution one. The links to most high resolution one (30 MBs!!) in Quicktime format can be found here. All of this can be found at this site. Quoting:
These images are very likely the most detailed images ever taken of a comet while it is that close (0.17AU) to the Sun, and also (in my opinion) one of, if not the most, beautiful uninterrupted sequence of images of a comet ever made.
Thanks again, Amara!
Some Related Asymptotia Posts (not exhaustive):