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Stargazer Snaps Stunning Close-Up of Comet Catalina (Photo)

Comet Catalina by Chris Schur
Astrophotographer <a href=" http://www.schursastrophotography.com"> Chris Schur </a>. took this image on Dec. 2, 2015 from Payson, Arizona. (Image credit: Chris Schur | <a href=" http://www.schursastrophotography.com">SchurAstrophotography</a>)

Comet Catalina and its dusty tail can be seen in this skywatcher image. The comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) passed the Sun last month and is approaching Earth in January.

Astrophotographer Chris Schur took this image on Dec. 2 from Payson, Arizona. "This image shows how the separation between dust and gas tails in this coming comet has changed dramatically from even a few weeks ago," Schur wrote in an email to Space.com.

In the image, Comet Catalina - also known as C/2013 US10 - is sporting both dust (lower left) and ion gas (upper left) tails. It passes closest to Earth, at a distance of 0.72 astronomical unit (108 million km) on Jan. 12 making the first weeks of the New Year an ideal time to observe this comet. [Comet Catalina in Pictures: See More Amazing Views]

"We have great things to look forward to in the coming weeks!" Schur added.

The image was taken with 80mm f/4.6 Stellarvue, an SV80 refractor, a Canon XTi camera, set at ISO 800 with 10 mins total integration time.

To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by Space.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.

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Nina Sen

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for Space.com. She began writing and producing content for Space.com in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.