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Published on Mar 18, 2013
This is comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) in the NASA STEREO HI-1B field of view, from March 09 -16, 2013. If you want very specific details of what the images are showing, I recommend you read my blog post for the Planetary Society: http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-... But the tldr; is this: The sun is out of the frame, off the left-hand edge and we're seeing its outflow and coronal mass ejections come into view. Also on the left we see the planet Mercury, while on the right we see our home, Earth. (We can see Earth because STEREO is on the other side of the Sun from us.) The comet is obvious in the images. The reason for the large black areas under the comet are because of the processing method I used which relies on taking the difference of consecutive images. As for the features in the tail of the comet, there's just no brief way to explain them, so you'll need to read the blog post for that!