Skip to main content

Photos: Spectacular Comet Views from Earth and Space

Comet C/1995 O1 Hale–Bopp
Comet C/1995 O1 Hale–Bopp, which shone in the night sky in 1997. Long period comets such as Hale-Bopp were once deemed to be the primary impact hazard to Earth.
(Image: © ESO)

Comet West

John Laborde

This photograph of Comet West, one of the greatest comets of all-time, was taken by amateur astronomer John Laborde. The picture shows the two distinct tails. The thin blue ion tail is made up of gases, while the broad white tail is made up of tiny dust particles.

The Streak


This gallery showcases the first images taken by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft. Comet Siding Spring flashes across the sky impressively in this infrared image. Observers in Australia discovered the comet, also known as C/2007 Q3, in 2007.

Stunning Comet's Size Shocks Scientists

S. Deiries/ESO.

Comet McNaught over the Pacific Ocean. Image taken from Paranal Observatory in January 2007.

Comets From Edge of Solar System Unlikely to Hit Earth

Mike Solontoi/University of Washington

A long-period comet called 2001 RX14 (Linear) turned up in images captured in 2002 by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey telescope in New Mexico.

Broken Comet On Its Way

Jim V. Scotti

Comet 73P breaking up in 1995.

Comet Lovejoy & Tail From Space


Comet Lovejoy is visible near Earth's horizon in this nighttime image photographed by NASA astronaut Dan Burbank, Expedition 30 commander, onboard the International Space Station on Dec. 22, 2011.

Halley's Comet in 1986


An image of Halley's Comet taken in 1986.

Solar Storms Smack a Comet

Gilbert Jones/Three Buttes Observatory.

This image of comet 153P/Ikeya-Zhang, taken by skywatcher Gilbert Jones on March 11, 2002, shows its ion tail decimated by a run-in with a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the Sun.

Cosmic Stage Set for Comet Lulin Show

©Jack Newton (, used with permission

Jack Newton and his wife are building a stargazing community 150 miles southeast of Tucson. That Arizona Sky Village was the location from which he made this photo of comet Lulin on Feb. 18, 2009.

Christmas Comet Lovejoy

G. Blanchard(

European Southern Observatory optician Guillaume Blanchard captured this marvellous wide-angle photo of Comet Lovejoy on 22 December 2011 as it appeared over Paranal Observatory in Chile.

Comet Tuttle at the End of 2007

Giampaolo Salvato (

Giampaolo Salvato photographed Comet Tuttle on Dec. 30, 2007 as it appeared near the spiral galaxy M33. The image was taken from northern Italy with a backyard telescope and a digital camera.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: