Comet Lovejoy C/2011 W3

Comet Lovejoy as seen from The Angle, NSW on the mornings of the 24th and 25th of December 2011. Follow the linked images to see the full set including images were a flyby of the International Space Station has been included.

Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3) 24/12/2011 Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3) 24/12/2011 Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3) 25/12/2011

Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3) is a periodic comet, discovered on November 27th 2011, by amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy.

The comet’s path took it through the Sun’s corona on December 16th 2011 and it passed approximately 140,000 kms above the Sun’s surface. It was not expected to survive the encounter, but Sun-monitoring spacecraft, observed the comet emerge from the corona intact

The comet nucleus of Lovejoy is estimated to be as much as 500m before the passage through the corona of the sun. At its brightest the comet had an apparent magnitude of around –4 (about as bright as the planet Venus). It is the brightest comet to appear since Comet McNaught of 2007, which shone at visual magnitude –5.5.

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