Comet Leonard over Italy

March 10, 2022


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Photographers: Andrea Amici; Alessandra Masi

Summary Authors: Andrea Amici; Alessandra Masi ; Cadan Cummings

The photos above show Comet Leonard in the sky over two towns in Italy. Comet Leonard, also known as C/2021, was discovered early in January 2021 and completed its nearest pass to Earth on December 12, 2021 (approximately 21 million miles or 34 million kilometers). Its appearance was expected to dazzle on-lookers in early-December. However, it never attained a high enough brightness (magnitude) to be seen clearly without binoculars or a telescope.

The left photo was taken by Andrea Amici near Portonovo, Italy. Since the end of November, I was looking for ideal weather conditions. Unfortunately, it never stopped raining and the sky was always overcast. Shown here is the first clear weather attempt at photographing Comet Leonard. Miraculously the conditions were clear at around 3:45AM local time on December 10, 2021. At this time, Leonard’s magnitude was 4.85, considering the air masses. I was able to shoot until around 6 AM local time and captured a small thunderstorm as well as the twilight lights of dawn.

Visible in the sky near Domegge di Cadore, Italy, the right photo was taken by Alessandra Masi on December 8, 2021. In this picture, Comet Leonard is seen rising from Mount Montanel (2441 meters / 8000 feet).

Photo Details Left Photo:

Nikon D750 modded, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Panorama 3 blocks @ 70mm: landscape (1x13 second exposure, ISO-2540, f/5.6), sky (1x20 second exposure, ISO-3200, f/2.8), Leonard (85x20 second exposure, ISO-3200, f/2.8 + 45 dark frames, bias, flats)

Portonovo, Ancona, Italy Coordinates: 43.5612, 13.5999

Photo Details Right Photo:

Canon eos R6, Canon 70/ 300 a 300 mm, Sky: sum of 6 shots tracked at ISO-12800, 300mm, F 5.6, 30 second exposure, Panorama: ISO-800, 300 mm., F 5.6, 119 second exposure

Domegge di Cadore, Belluno, Italy Coordinates: 46.4666, 12.4166