Beauty of a Comet
Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3) photographed in the morning sky above Western Australia, near Perth. The 200-meter icy body not only survived its close perihelion (only 185,000 km from the Sun’s surface), but in the days afterward this sungrazer comet also held together and reformed its dust and gas tails. Notable stars Alpha and Beta Centauri appear above the comet tail. Higher up in the Milky Way band is the dark nebula known as the Coalsack near the Southern Cross. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds appear on the right.