I finally had a chance to photograph Comet Catalina after what seems like a solid month of cloud. By chance this happened to be a night when the comet passed close to the Pinwheel galaxy (M101) forming a brief but beautiful conjunction. Catalina is already an attractive comet, with the delicate ion tail clearly separate from the wide dust tail, with the coma a familiar green colour.
Image details: Nikon D7000, Nikkor 180mm f2.8 at f2.8. 9 minutes (18 x 30 seconds) at iso 1600. Using didymium filter. Stacked with Deep Sky Stacker and tracked with barn door tracker. Temperature: -1c. Elevation: 5m. Time: 00:30 UT.
The comet is currently drifting through Ursa Major, making it a perfect target for viewers in the northern hemisphere throughout the night. The live sky map below shows the current position of the comet as it begins journey out of the solar system, never to return!