Comet Lovejoy and Chile at Night (ISS 12/26/11)
This busy night time panorama was photographed by one of the Expedition 30 crew members from the International Space Station on Dec. 26, 2011. Comet Lovejoy streaks through the star-filled sky just to the right of center. The land mass is the coast of Chile, looking southeast, with several coastal cities in the capital city region near Santiago. A 28-mm focal length was used to record the image.
Photo Credit: NASA
As Comet Lovejoy was visible from Earth during the Christmas holiday it became known as “The Great Christmas Comet of 2011”, and because its appearance was announced on the 16th anniversary of the SOHO satellite’s launch it was also nicknamed “The Great Birthday Comet of 2011”.
Comet Lovejoy is a periodic comet, classified as a Kreutz Sungrazer. It was discovered in November 2011 by amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy. The comet’s perihelion took it through the Sun’s corona on 16 December 2011, after which it emerged intact and continued on its orbit to the outer solar system.[8 pictures]
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