Comet McNaught and Airglow Morning comet verging on naked eye visibility

Uploaded 6/22/10

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 This 5th magnitude object lies only a few degrees above the distant north eastern horizon for much of June. Here you can see the brilliant 1st magnitude star Capella near the bottom of this frame, dimmed and yellowed significantly by the horizon dust extinction band. Just above, is the emerald green head of the new comet with a bluish ion tail extending at least three degrees nearly straight up, and a greenish dust fan pointing to the upper right very close to the central coma. There is obviously some ices following the normally yellow dust component out from the central condensation to create the coloration.

A slightly tilted horizontal green band cuts through this image. This is a common feature in my shots from Payson, our high altitude and dark northern skies often reveal this cousin to the Aurora, the earths faint and stratified air glow component of the uppermost atmosphere.

The comet was so low on the horizon, that you can see I could only image this apparition within a narrow notch in the tall pine trees and it was through careful placement of the mount on our balcony on the second story of our home that I could even see this object.

Left: This highly stretched image shows the extent of the tail, and the horizontal banding in the air glow around the comet.
Optics: Canon 100mm f/4.5 Platform: Televue GEM Camera: Hutech Modified Canon XTi @ ISO800 Exposure: 5m Location: Payson, Arizona Elevation: 5150 ft. Sky: Seeing 6/10, Transparency 8/10 Outside Temperature: 53F Processing Tools: Photoshop CS2, Images Plus 3.82 HOME GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS