Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy: a spectacular live, online event and a new stunning image (06 Jan. 2015)
As promptly scheduled last year, at Virtual Telescope we shared comet C/2014 Q2 live, online, showing it in real time through the powerful eyes of our robotic telescopes. The live feed was a huge success and it was featured by the most important international media involved in science and astronomy communication and outreach. A second live event is scheduled for 11 Jan. 2015.
The comet was a gem to see, with an amazing tail revealing many delicate features in its ion tail. More than twenty-thousands viewers spied it with us, while images were commented by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, Phd.
The image above comes from the twenty-five, 60-seconds unfiltered exposures, remotely collected with the PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope Project. All the images were median combined to remove the interference of the stars as much as possible. The telescope tracked at the apparent rate of the comet. The tail shows many details; the processing took care of it, trying to keep a natural feeling, without pushing the contrast too much. The negative palette helps seeing the faintest structures.
Below is the output of a 20-deg. rotational gradient, showing several interesting structures south from the nucleus, in the sunward direction. For this detailed processing, an higher resolution image (scale 0.63″/pixel) was used.
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