Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy: a new mosaic (30 Jan. 2015, perihelion day)
On 30 Jan. 2015, comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy reached perihelion, that is its minimum distance from the Sun, at about 190 millions of km from our star. We planned a live, online session to show the comet at its turning point, but we had to cancel it because of clouds. One hour later, the sky opened for a while and, despite the Moon was extremely bright, reinforced by the high haze after the rain, we managed to image the comet.
The image above comes from the average of five, 120-seconds unfiltered exposures, remotely collected with the PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope Project. The telescope tracked at the apparent rate of the comet. Two adjacent portions of the sky were imaged, later carefully superimposed, to cover a larger field of view. We used a 3×3 binning, providing the highest sensibility to light, still with a 1.8″/pixel, good resolution for a detailed view. While the overall atmospheric conditions, plus the bright Moon were seriously unfavorable, the comet is showing with all its glory.
We provide also a negative palette, making easier to see the complex pattern of the tail.
We wish to dedicate this image to Martino Nicolini, a good friend, great comet lover and observer. We will miss him. Ciao Martino!
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