A Comet and a Star Cluster
Comet designation: C2004Q2; Messier-Catalog: M 45
Constellation: Taurus - The Bull

Comet Machholz had a nice performance at the 2004/05 winter sky. The comet was easily visible in binoculars at dark locations.

On January 7th Machholz passed by the Pleiades, the well-known star cluster in Taurus which is named after the daughters of Atlas and Pleione. Looking closely at the picture, one can notice the remarkable gap between the gas tail and the dust tail explained in "Reinhard's Classics" gallery with the example of comet Hale-Bopp. In this case, the dust tail is oriented to the south, while the gas tail shows to the east (left) and touches the reflection nebula the Pleiades are embedded in.

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