A Comet, Meteor, Nebula and the Pleiades Combine into One Epic Space Photo

Miguel Claro Space.com Contributor

Miguel Claro is a professional photographer, author and science communicator based in Lisbon, Portugal, who creates spectacular images of the night sky. As a European Southern Observatory Photo Ambassador and member of The World At Night and the official astrophotographer of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, he specializes in astronomical "Skyscapes" that connect both Earth and night sky. Join Miguel here as he takes us through his photograph "Celestial Encounter Between Comet 46P/Wirtanen, Pleiades, California Nebula and a Meteor."

A wide-field scene shows Comet 46P/Wirtanen in the Taurus constellation, making its historic close approach to Earth on Dec. 15, 2018. Because the small comet was only 7.1 million miles (11.5 million kilometers) away from us, it was barely visible to the unaided eye, but in telescopes observers could see a beautiful greenish-blue coma.

This panoramic scene is composed of three panes captured from the Cumeada Observatory at the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve in Portugal. [Amazing Photos: Brilliant Comet 46P/Wirtanen Wows Stargazers]

Besides the visible comet, the panorama also features a blueish cluster of young, hot stars known as the Pleiades star cluster (M45), visible near the center of the frame. In the right edge, we can find the California Nebula (NGC 1499), while a meteor from the Geminids was crossing the sky and releasing a faint plume of smoke only perceptible in the photographs. 

To see more of Claro's amazing astrophotography, visit his website: www.miguelclaro.com. Follow us @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Original article on Space.com.

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