This is my best shot of Comet Leonard, which is currently on a rare visit into the inner Solar System. Its closest approach to Earth was on 15th December 2021 (about 0.25 Astronomical Units).
It reached its closest approach to the Sun (perihelion) today (3rd January 2022), exactly one year after its discovery, so it is now beginning its 40,000 year journey back out to its furthest point from the Sun (aphelion). It occupies a long orbit which will not see it return for another perihelion again for another 80,000 years.
Let’s hope it doesn’t bump into the Webb Telescope on its way out….
This image was taken with a DSLR on a tripod, which permitted easy repositioning mobility as the object dropped fast behind my neighbour’s jacaranda tree. I ended up right on the edge of the road itself to take this image as it passed between the branches. It was meant to be a precursor to capturing the comet through my telescope – and I did make two attempts to capture it with my telescope but its low location behind the tree in the South West after sunset made it an impossible task. 😯
NASA has a great interactive three dimensional map which you can zoom in on, to see its orbit pass by Earth and Venus.
Images © Roger Powell
|Camera:||Canon 60D DSLR|
|Lens:||Tamron 70-200mm (200mm)|
|Image exposure:||1.3 sec; f/2.8; ISO 1600|
|Image field of view:|
Cosmic Focus Observatory
Above us only sky….