I processed a few more image sequences of Comet Lovejoy from last night’s shoot up on Guanella Pass. It is a long-period comet and is on its way out now; it will presumably continue to dim until re-appearing in another 8000 years or so.
This first image contains a variety of cosmic curiosities, from Comet Lovejoy (the fuzzy green spot in upper left) and the Andromeda Galaxy (the fuzzy white disc in upper-right, center), to a small meteor (the thin white line, near center); meteors are often debris from comets, and thus there may be two separate vestiges of comet material in this image. Most notably though, the whitish glow emanating from the horizon and pointing toward the comet is a phenomenon called zodiacal light, the light of the sun from the other side of the earth made visible by the scattering of sunlight by interplanetary dust (that is, in space, well beyond our atmosphere). The sun had set nearly 3 hours before and was 33 degrees below the horizon, and it’s a bit unusual to capture this phenomenon in post-twilight skies this early in the Spring.