Icy Visitor from Beyond
The stunning tail of Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3) is photographed in the morning sky above Cape Schanck, about 90 km from Melbourne, southeastern Australia. 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. The band of the Milky Way is captured with the constellations Scorpius (at the horizon), Ara, and Centaurus. Note the two bright stars of Alpha and Beta Centauri in the upper middle and the Southern Cross near the top. Star cluster NGC6231 in Scorpius is visible right above the comet head.