I’ve been looking forward to Comet Lovejoy. To a stargazing enthusiast, reading reports of a great comet while under cloudy skies is like hearing of buried gold beneath a rock… but lacking a shovel. Anyways, January 17 found a beautifully clear Alabamian winter’s day giving way to a vibrant evening. Venus and Mercury quickly followed the sun beneath the trees (above), giving a lovely background to the orange horizon that rose up and faded quickly into deep, majestic blue. Soon after the sun set, I set my sights further into the solar system; Lovejoy was begging to be photographed. My Nikkor 50mm lens framed the comet and it’s long, slender tail quite well.
Comet Lovejoy (C2014 Q2) made quite a show! Having just jumped into cometary astrophotography, I’m pretty satisfied with my results. It made a pretty scene with M45, the Pleiades, just beneath it. Another first for me was using Deep Sky Stacker to stack a series of exposures. This is hard with cometary astrophotography, because not only is the sky moving due to the earth’s rotation, but the comet is moving relative to the background stars as it shoots through the solar system to swing around the sun.