A Rare Glowing Megacomet Was Captured In A Stunning Photo

An astrophysicist took this shot with a long exposure on June 18, 2018, just before the megacomet made its closest visit to Earth. The image shows the comet glowing in the darkness.

Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), also known as K2, will make a close pass by Earth on Wednesday, July 13. It will be about twice as distant from Earth as the sun is from Earth at the time of the pass. In spite of this, the comet, which may reach as much as 100 miles wide, is still emitting a sufficient amount of dust to be seen via telescopes.

Yellow Springs, Ohio served as the site from which galacticimages.com’s John Chumack made the discovery of the enormous comet in the constellation Ophiuchus. When Chumack took the snapshot of the comet, it was located in the constellation Ophiuchus, which is near the celestial equator. According to him, it could be seen with a reflector telescope measuring six inches in diameter as well as a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope of eight inches in diameter.

The beautiful photo, however, was taken using a somewhat bigger 12-inch F4 Newtonian reflector, as Chumack said. A customized Canon 6D DSLR camera and a Bisque ME mount were the other pieces of hardware used during the exposure that lasted for 31 minutes.

When Chumack captured K2 with his camera, he calculated that the comet had a magnitude of 9.7, and EarthSky forecasts that the comet might become as brilliant as magnitude 7 by the conclusion of 2022. In contrast, stars with a magnitude of six are about the dimmest stars that can be seen with the naked eye; but, due to the comet’s diffuse nature, it would be harder to see.

When it was found lurking on the edge of the Solar System in 2017, Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), also known as K2, was believed to be the farthest active comet ever observed. It was identified by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2017. This record was broken earlier this year by the megacomet Bernardinelli-Bernstein, although K2 has been slowly approaching our solar system over the course of the previous five years.

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