This stunning image captures the glowing green head of Comet Lovejoy.
Astrophotographer Miguel Claro took the image as a well as a timelapse video from Juromenha, Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, Portugal on Jan. 11, 2015.
"After a few seconds we will zoom in, entering in a real time lapse sequence capturing the slowly movement of the comet and their ion blue tail, made by ionized gas – gas energized by ultraviolet light from the Sun and pushed outward by the solar wind – while it is crossing some stars of Taurus constellation," Claro wrote about the timelapse video, which resulted in the final still images in an email to Space.com. [See more amazing photos of Comet Lovejoy]
The newly discovered comet, officially known as Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2, was first spotted by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy last August. The apparent green color of the comet likely comes from cyanogen, a poisonous gas that glows green when sunlight hits it. The comet was visible through much of January, but it reached its brightest early this year with a magnitude of 4.6. On this scale, smaller numbers represent brightness of objects in space. The dimmest objects visible to the human eye are about magnitude 6.5.
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.