A Cometary Close Encounter by Barry Burgess

Photo of the Week for December 21, 2018

A Cometary Close Encounter by Barry BurgessIn mid-December, observers (those with clear weather, that is) got to enjoy watching Comet 46P/Wirtanen dash by the Pleiades cluster in Taurus. The photo presented here shows the comet (a small, greenish fuzzy spot to the left of the Pleiades) on December 16 when it drifted by Earth at a distance of only 11.5 million kilometres—30 times farther away than the Moon, but good enough to make Wirtanen the 10th closest cometary encounter since 1950.

That December morning is beautifully captured in this striking nightscape photo by Barry Burgess. He recorded the 10-second exposure (shot at ISO 4000) from Indian Fields, Nova Scotia, with a Canon EOS 6D DSLR camera and Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art lens used at f/1.8.

(Click on the image to see a bigger version.)

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