Comet Lovejoy soars in these stunning images recently sent to SPACE.com by an avid astrophotographer.
"Comet Lovejoy has become spectacular!" astrophotographer John Chumack wrote SPACE.com in an email. Chumack captured the images on Nov. 13, 2013 from his observatories in Yellow Springs Research Station in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He used his homemade 16" diameter F4.5 Fork Mounted Newtonian Telescope and QHY8 cooled color CCD camera to take the photos.
"You can actually a capture a photo easily with a simple DSLR with any lens (28mm to 300mm) set to F4 or faster, put it on a tripod, set camera at ISO 800 to 1600, and take a 30-second exposure," Chumack said. "To get it to show up better or show the comets tail well, you can take 10 to 20 images right in a row, and then stack them in a free stacking program like Deepsky stacker." [See more amazing photos of Comet Lovejoy by Stargazers]
Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy discovered the new comet — his third discovery — on Sept. 7 toward the southeast of the constellation Orion. Lovejoy, designated C/2013 R1, is quickly brightening on its way toward the sun. It will arrive at perihelion, its closest point to the sun, on Dec. 22 at a distance of 75.4 million miles (121.4 million kilometers).
To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by SPACE.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.
Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.