Little Planet Lovejoy
Appeared as Astronomy Picture of the Day this view of a little planet embraced by stars is actually planet Earth and the image was created from a 12 frame mosaic used to construct a spherical panorama. The type of stereographic projection used to map the image pixels is centered directly below the camera and is known as the little planet projection. Stars surrounding this little planet were above the photographer’s cloudy horizon near the Bay of Islands on the Great Ocean Road in southern Victoria, Australia. Running alongside the Milky Way a faint trace of a large comet tail can be identified. Once a bright apparition in the southern hemisphere dawn Comet Lovejoy is fading in this morning view of 2011 December 30, but its long tail still stretches across skies near the south celestial pole. Move the slider on the image to see the labels. The very bright stars Canopus and Sirius are right of the little planet and the Large Magellanic Cloud appears at top.