An astrophotographer has put together an awesome timelapse video of the green comet that passed through the solar system this past month.
Consisting of 521 images that were captured over the course of 10 hours and with the total file size coming to one terabyte of data, the video charts the long-traveling comet’s journey as it passed by Earth.
The stunning comet with a long ion tail left the solar system this week and won’t be back again for another 50,000 years.
Officially known as C/2022 E3 (ZTF), Miguel Claro imaged the comet from the Dark Sky Alqueva observatory in Portugal which gets an average of 286 clear nights each year.
“We have to keep shooting night after night and after a while, it starts to get tough,” says Claro.
“Plus the fact that we have an increasingly huge amount of data to process which is normally done during the day….so, we don’t get left much free time to sleep.”
The timelapse video reveals the key moments of the comet’s activity, including when the comet’s tail disconnected on January 18.
“A piece of the plasma tail was uprooted from the comet’s head, and then carried away by the solar wind,” explains Claro.
“But ZTF didn’t stop surprising us and also began to reveal a rare anti-tail which gradually changed the angle position while our planet Earth was crossing the orbital plane of the comet.”
The long-distance traveler was moving fast against the starry sky background and Claro also captured a few rapid meteors crossing the field of view, as well as the moment when ZTF crossed close to a few galaxies.
“The comet was photographed late in the night in all the sessions, starting at a distance of 90.7 million miles (146.1 million kilometers) on January 3, until being very close to our planet on January 31 at a distance of only 26.7 million miles (43.1 million kilometers),” adds Claro.
To buy a print of Miguel Claro’s photos, head to his website where there are many more spectacular pictures available.
Image credits: All photos by Miguel Claro.