Comet Leonard

Comet Leonard title=
Comet Leonard
6 Comments
Reads 1897

By Stargazer Ron

Comet Leonard is 2021’s best comet and is now moving toward its closest point to the sun, due to arrive there on January 3, 2022, when it is likely to be at its brightest. But don't expect another bright Comet Neowise of March 2021, which could be seen with unaided eyes. Leonard is quite dim and elusive, especially given the unseasonal overcast skies we have had over Santa Barbara lately. In early December it could be found in the early morning eastern skies near Arcturus (follow the curve of the handle of the Big Dipper and "arc to Arcturus''). Then after December 14-16 it should become visible in the southwest with binoculars just after sunset, very low in the horizon (follow a line from Jupiter and Venus down toward the setting sun). It is an ultrafast comet travelling at 158,000 miles per hour relative to Earth. For that reason I had to limit my exposure using a 500mm lens to 4 minutes, even though I was using a star tracker. Longer exposures resulted in the comet looking like a line rather than a rounded point that we see here with its tail as it moved past stars. 

Login to add Comments

6 Comments

Show Comments
macpuzl Dec 07, 2021 12:56 PM
Comet Leonard

Nice catch! Too bad for us it'll be so low to the SW, but the southern hemisphere should get a good show.

OICU812 Dec 07, 2021 04:28 PM
Comet Leonard

Missed the last lunar eclipse and probably will miss Leonard thanks to (hmm, what do we call May gray and June gloom in October, November, and December?) Sucky!!!

a-1638936242 Dec 07, 2021 08:04 PM
Comet Leonard

(but highly preferable to fires and sundowners, this narrator whispered)

Happy2BeSB Dec 08, 2021 08:34 AM
Comet Leonard

Us amateurs without star trackers are grateful for your efforts and beautiful shot. Thank you!

macpuzl Dec 09, 2021 12:35 AM
Comet Leonard

Happy - Do a lookup for "barn door tracker". Simple to build, and quite effective if you want to try your hand at longer exposure astroimaging.

Happy2BeSB Dec 09, 2021 09:08 AM
Comet Leonard

Cool! Thanks Mac!

Please Login or Register to comment on this.