For northern hemisphere observers the winter sky brings an abundance of beautiful celestial objects. At lower left is the prominent constellation Orion the Hunter with his belt of three stars. At center is Taurus the Bull featuring its bright star Aldebaran and the spectacular Pleiades open cluster. Along with our usual winter friends, can you spot Comet Lovejoy? Look on the right and very near the trees. Comet Lovejoy, officially named C/2014 Q2, has a greenish glow due to diatomic carbon molecules (C2) fluorescing in sunlight. After its quick pass through the inner solar system, this comet will return in about 8,000 years.

Hold your mouse cursor over the image to see labels on the constellations and comet.

Orion, Pleiades, Lovejoy

Taken January 19, 2015 at Carlisle, Massachusetts
Nikon D300s, 18mm, f/3.5, 63 s, ISO 800, guided piggyback on Questar 3.5″