Comet Lovejoy Streaks Past Desert Telescope

Christmas Comet Lovejoy Captured at Paranal

ESO optician Guillaume Blanchard captured this marvelous wide-angle photo of Comet Lovejoy just two days ago on 22 December 2011. Comet Lovejoy has been the talk of the astronomy community over the past few weeks. It was first discovered on 27 November by the Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy and was classified as a Kreutz sungrazer, with its orbit taking it very close to the Sun, passing a mere 140,000 kilometers (87,000 miles) from the Sun’s surface. Credit: G. Blanchard (

On December 22, Guillaume Blanchard of the European Southern Observatory captured one amazing image that features two impressive objects together: comet Lovejoy and ESO’s Telescope, located in the Atacama Desert in Chile. It’s an amazing once-in-a-lifetime image.

The comet was discovered on November 27 by astronomer Terry Lovejoy. Due to the fact that it passes in such close proximity to our sun, it is classified as a Kreutz sungrazer. It should have suffered a fiery death two weeks ago when it passed within 140,000 kilometers (87,000 miles) of the sun’s surface, but somehow it survived.

The comet should be visible from the southern hemisphere for the next month if you want to see it, but after that, it is gone and won’t be back for 314 years.

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