Photos of the Sun

Comet Lovejoy. Mounts and kites

Comet Lovejoy. Mounts and kites

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Lovejoy is a long-period comet that was discovered on August 17, 2014 by Australian Terry Lovejoy, an astronomy fan. He did it using a 0.2-meter Schmidt-Casegrain telescope, and was then on the constellation Puppis. Green, the last time Lovejoy entered the Solar System was approximately 11,500 years ago.

On January 7, 2015 Lovejoy had its maximum approach to Earth, although in the Northern Hemisphere it had been visible since the end of December 2014. It could be observed, from sunset, until January 24, 2015. The passage of Lovejoy was spectacular, because its nucleus could be distinguished with the naked eye. To observe its tail, of intense green color, it was enough to use small binoculars.

The origin of Lovejoy is in the Oort cloud, and this was not the first time he visited Earth. Unfortunately we will not see him again, since the next time he approaches our planet will be in 8,000 years.

In the image you can see Comet Lovejoy crossing the sky over Santiago de Chile, in the Southern Hemisphere. Its green color is due to its composition, mainly of cyanogen and diatomic carbon. These compounds emit an emerald light due to the effect called "resonant fluorescence". It is produced by the radiation received by the comet of the Sun.

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Album: Photos of the Solar System Gallery: Mounts and comets


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