National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Subaru Telescope’s Image Captures the Intricacy of Comet Lovejoy’s Tail

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A team of astronomers used Suprime-Cam, Subaru Telescope’s wide-field, prime-focus camera, to capture an image of the intricate flow of Comet Lovejoy’s (C/2013 R1) ion tail. The instrument’s combination of a wide field of view and high spatial resolution provides a clear delineation of the complex, wiggling streams in the comet’s tail. At the time of this observation, at around 5:30 am on December 3, 2013 (Hawaii Standard Time), Comet Lovejoy was 50 million miles (80 million km) distant from Earth and 80 million miles (130 million km) away from the Sun.

Image of Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) captured by the Subaru Telescope’s Suprime-Cam on December 3, 2013 (Hawaii Standard Time). The wavelength was at 450 nm (B-band), with a 180 second exposure. (Credit: NAOJ with data processing by Masafumi Yagi (NAOJ))