Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy: nucleus and tail (05 Dec. 2013)
Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy is putting an amazing show out there. It is enchanting us with a long tail, but it is amazingly interesting even at high resolution.
Above in an image remotely taken with the PlaneWave 17″ robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope, showing a spike-like tail and some very interesting structures close to the false nuclues. It is the average of 8, 120-seconds exposures, with the mount tracking the apparent motion of the comet. Of course, the tail is much longer than the fraction captured here (this image covers about 20×30 arcmins, with North on the left, East on the bottom). Processing was gentle, to preserve a natural sight of the comet. below is a bit more contrasted image:
Hi-res images (0.62″/pixel) were obtained with the Celestron C14 robotic unit, with its mount tracking the comet. Averaging five, 180-seconds exposures and using a gentle unsharp masking filter, the false nucleus shows interesting structures, as below:
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