ISS030-E-014406 Comet Lovejoy is visible near Earth’s horizon in this nighttime image photographed by NASA astronaut Dan Burbank, Expedition 30 commander, onboard the International Space Station on Dec. 21, 2011
“Today Burbank described seeing the comet as “the most amazing thing I have ever seen in space,” in an interview with WDIV-TV in Detroit. Burbank took hundreds of still images of the comet.”
Comet ‘Lovejoy’s tail now visible before sunrise – Dec 23, 2011
“Clearly visible in the sky, it was expected to be vaporised by the sun but miraculously popped out the other side after passing through its corona.
It missed the sun by only 200,000 kilometres which might sound a lot but temperatures in its path are around 1.5 million degrees Celsius.
The extreme heat explains Lovejoy’s long tail: its ice melting and shedding off bits of dust behind it.
The comet was discovered by Australian Terry Lovejoy at the beginning of the month and is thought to be about half a kilometre wide.
The comet should be visible over the next few days, if you look to the east around 3.30am.”
Comet Loveyoy at Sunrise ) Compilation ) – late December 2011
The visibility of Comet Lovejoy should continue to improve in the days ahead as the comet moves farther away from the sun. Early-rising sky watchers in the southern hemisphere should remain alert for this amazing apparition.