Comet Lovejoy, Owl Cluster & Dolphin Nebula

Comet Lovejoy and the Owl ClusterComet Lovejoy continues to shine as it journeys through the Solar System. Early last week the comet passed the Owl Cluster in Cassiopeia, making for another great photo opportunity.

With one of Cassiopeia’s brightest stars ‘Ruchbah‘ (right of shot) guiding the way, comet Lovejoy is an easy target to find at the moment. It’s surprising to see how bright the tail still is, with plenty of structure still visible. (Click the image for a larger version).

Just below Lovejoy sits the brilliantly named Owl Cluster, with the two brightest stars forming the eyes. The small nebula just above the comet is the little known Dolphin nebula, a small planetary nebula around 850 light years distance. The cluster of stars at the top right of the image is Messier 103.

Image details: Nikon D7000Nikkor 180mm f2.8 at f2.8. 16 minutes (32 x 30 seconds) at iso 800 using didymium filter, plus 2 minutes (4 x 30 seconds) at iso 800 using . Stacked with Deep Sky Stacker and tracked with barn door tracker.


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