Lovejoy Passing by Earth

by User 1
(uploaded January 19, 2015)

C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), the brightest comet to be visible in dark skies in the Northern Hemisphere in 8 years (since the outburst of 17P/Holmes in 2007/2008), shines at magnitude +4.0 as it passes by the Earth. The 2 degrees of tail visible in this image comprise just 1/10 of what's visible in a wide field image of the comet. This full 20 degree tail translates to a true distance of over 0.2 au, or 30 million km. By comparison, the nucleus of the comet (not visible in the image) producing this tail is estimated to be around 5 km in diameter, a factor of nearly 107 smaller.

Lovejoy Passing by Earth
NormalGrayscaleGray+Inv
Time Taken:January 16, 2015, 11:00 pm (UTC)
Location:Santa Barbara, CA
Telescope:ES ED80-CF
Camera:Canon EOS Rebel T4i
Mount:iOptron ZEQ25GT
Filters:Astro Tech 2" Field Flattener
Field Center:3h21m40.84s, 19°8'52.66"
Field Size:2.31784° × 1.53245°
Field Rotation:up is 1.101° E of N
Total Integration:1980 seconds
# of Frames:66 subs
ISO Speed:1600
Aperture:0.08 meters
Focal Ratio:6
Is Cropped:Yes
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