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Comet McNaught C/2006 P1

In 2006 a new comet was discovered by R. H. McNaught in Australia. It brightened during the last few months of 2006 as it approached its closest encounter with the sun, reaching peak brightness in early January, just as it disappeared from the skies of the northern hemisphere. Visible to the naked eye, it is the brightest comet in at least 30 years. I caught it on the last possible day for latitude 38N, January 12, as it followed the sun in the west. In future months, it will be visible from the southern hemisphere and gradually dim again.

Above is a sum of 5 stacked images of the comet at 1/200 sec, f/5.6, with a Canon 100-400 mm zoom lens at 400mm on a Canon 1D mark 2 camera, ISO 800. Images were aligned and stacked in MaxIm. Final color and contrast adjustments were made in Photoshop CS2. The red color is close to the observed color of the sky immediately after sunset.

Below is a rough animated GIF file showing the movement of the comet in the evening as it approached the western horizon.



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