May 25, 2004
Just a day after Comet NEAT's closest approach to Earth (on May 7), a dramatic tail developed, as seen here on this May 8 image taken from Joshua Tree National Park in California. The tail is over 7 degrees in length. Over the past decade, May has been by far the best month for viewing comets. This May, Comet NEAT, Comet Linear and Comet Bradfield were close enough to Earth to be seen (with a little patience and perseverance), and in the late 1990s, we were treated to splendid spingtime views of Comet Hyakutake (1996) and Hale Bopp (1997).
Photo details: taken with Fuji digital camera, 75mm lens, at F/2.4 for 90 seconds, set at ISO 1,600. A Kenko mount (without guiding) was used for tracking.