This timely image from the southeastern shore of Australia in Victoria has captured two approaching comets in the early morning sky, both just passed naked eye visibility at the imaging time and formed interesting and diverse cometary tails even visible in this wide angle nightscape photo. In this view comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) appears near the Small Magellanic Cloud (a Milky Way’s dwarf satellite galaxy). Comet PanSTARRS (C/2011 L4) is on the left with its fan-shaped tail. The green cast on the image is made by active airglow (faint natural emission of the Earth upper atmosphere). The red cast near the horizon was a burst of aurora australis. Click on the second photo to see a close-up view of comet Lemmon passing against the Small magellanic Cloud, featured as an Astronomy Picture of the Day. The Lemmon’s lime green coma and thin tail are visible in the telephoto scene, a single frame from this timelapse video. Another southern sky treasure is visible in the view: the impressive globular cluster 47 Tucanae. © Alex Cherney



comments (1)

  • Ralph Aguirre Reply

    This is a breathtaking photo, not just from an astronomers prospective but also from those who appreciate the beauty of nature.
    Ive witnessed every naked eye comet that’s been in the sky since I was 10 years old, starting with comet Bennett and these two will add to the list of visible comets Ive experienced in my lifetime.
    I’m looking forward to these two visitors to come up to the northern hemisphere and put on a show for us also.

    Ralph in Sacramento, Calif

    February 24, 2013 at 3:53 am

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