Image Credit & Copyright: European Southern Observatory (ESO) Photo Ambassador, Petr Horalek.
Here’s another incredible image of C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy that’s sailing on through the inner solar system as we speak. The main event may be over but if you have the location and equipment it can still be seen pretty easily so if you have the time and opportunity, get out there and have a look.
This image was captured by European Southern Observatory (ESO) Ambassador, Petr Horalek back in January 2015 as Lovejoy was at the height of its performance. The comet is seen here seemingly resting on a green cloud of air glow above the world renowned La Silla Observatory which was not only ESO’s 1st observatory, but it’s still one of the best in the world. That three million mile long (5 million km) tail stretches across the sky to M45 (Pleiades or Seven Sisters) in Taurus. To the right of them is the telltale red curve of the California Nebula and up at the top right you can see Sh2-264 the Angelfish Nebula around the star Meissa, acting as the head of Taurus.
If I had to guess, this image was taken from the 3.6 meter telescope catwalk or its auxiliary which stands next to it. All in all just a stunning image and beautiful capture by one of the great night sky photographers of our time.
ESO page for this image: http://www.eso.org/public/usa/images/potw1504a/
Petr Horalek Photography: http://www.astronom.cz/horalek/