This photo combines a series of November 2013 observations by NASA's NEOWISE (Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer) mission, spanning half a degree. The red color, which makes Lovejoy stand out so clearly, is due to gas and dust in the comet's coma.
Space may look calm and empty from down here, but when you see everything moving around up there, it's actually pretty crowded.
Say hello to 2013 YP139 — a newly discovered 0.4 mile (650 meter) wide asteroid spotted by NASA's recently re-started NEOWISE spacecraft. Preliminary calculations show it'll come within 300,000 miles from Earth — thus qualifying it as a potential headache.
NASA recently repurposed a satellite called WISE that had completed its mission with all instruments intact and quite a bit of fuel. Renaming the mission NEOWISE, the space agency gave the satellite a new job: map the entire volume of space in the vicinity of Earth's orbit around the sun, looking for every possible…