Comet C/2017 E4 Lovejoy: an image (22 Apr. 2017)
After a few days, we could image comet C/2017 E4 Lovejoy again, now clearly disrupting and fading. The object is no longer showing an evident condensation and it will be interesting to follow it for the next nights.
The image above comes from the average of eleven, 60-seconds exposures, unfiltered, remotely taken with the 16″-f/3.75 Tenagra III (“Pearl”) robotic unit part of Tenagra Observatories in Arizona. The telescope tracked the apparent motion of the comet. The imaging camera is based on the KAF-16801 CCD, used in 2×2 binning. The resulting image scale is 2.4″/pixel. The comet was very low above the horizon, at about 8 degrees, after the beginning of the morning twilight. Despite this, the dusty tail is apparent for more than half a degree. Of course, this is only a lower limit, because of the extreme observing conditions.
The observatory hosting the telescope is placed at 1300 meters above the sea level, in the Sonoran desert, providing one of the best skies in the world. This image is the first one coming from a cooperation between the Virtual Telescope Project and Tenagra Observatories, Ltd., which will be announced soon.
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