Artist notes:

I was at a party with friends when I collected this data. In between games and food I’d sneak peeks at my Ipad to control the telescope and camera as they collected photons back at home. Processing this data was no party. Comets move relative to the background stars so it requires several complicated steps to generate an image with both the comet and the stars in focus. I find the green color very striking! Green is a very rare color in space. I’m hoping I get another shot at this comet when it comes back around in 8000 years.

Technical details:

Photons captured in Simpson, North Carolina, on New Year’s Eve 2014.  This exposure was collected over a total of 1.3 hours.

This is a long-period comet discovered on 17 August 2014 by Terry Lovejoy. Its blue-green color is the result of cyanogen and diatomic carbon being burned off the comet as it passes through space.

Comet Lovejoy 2014