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Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) Moves Past Globular Cluster M3 While a Meteor Streaks Across the Sky

Updated: Dec 6, 2021




In this image taken on the early morning of Dec. 3, 2021, at Grand Mesa Observatory, Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) is seen moving past Globular Cluster M3 in our night sky when a meteor streaked across this scene, lighting up the image and creating one of the most spectacular shots I’ve had the privilege of working with. It was captured and processed by Terry Hancock and myself, Tom Masterson.


After processing this image, I looked up what the color of the meteor means for its makeup and found that yellow/orange meteors most likely are made up of sulfur and iron. The strands of vapor moving off the meteor tail are so mesmerizing. What a treat it was to capture this image! Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) will continue to brighten in our night sky this month but will become difficult to image or observe as it approaches the sun in our sky. It flips around and becomes an evening comet later this month, which will hopefully make it easier for more people to observe. Fingers crossed it brightens past expectations. Currently it’s a binocular-observable comet, but it may become naked eye visible in the next couple nights if it’s not already.


Technical Info:


Captured and processed by Tom Masterson and Terry Hancock

Location: GrandMesaObservatory.com Purdy Mesa, Colorado www.grandmesaobservatory.com

Date/Time of Capture: 4:31 AM MT, December 3rd

Single 120 second combined with 40% mix for noise reduction from a 90 x 120 second stack

Camera: QHY367 Pro C Full Frame One Shot Color CMOS

Optics: Takahashi E-180 Astrograph

Image Acquisition software Maxim DL6

Pre-Processed in Pixinsight

Post Processed in Photoshop

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