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Mike Olason

Location of Photo:

Tucson, Arizona

Date/Time of photo:

9 December 2021, 1221-1309 UT


Canon A3100 camera, 25 mm finder scope, ST-402ME CCD camera


This wide field of view image, 52x37 degrees, taken on the morning of 2021 Dec 9 puts Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) into perspective as to how small it actually is when looking at it in our morning sky. We see all the very nice images of the comet and one would think that this comet is very large and bright in our skies but so far it has not been. Yes, it is one of a very few bright comets that we all have seen, but it is just barely naked eye from a dark location. To date it only looks like a fuzzy green circle in 8x21 and 7x35 binoculars. Michel Deconinck did some nice watercolors of the comet. This wide field image is an average of 10 images each 10 seconds long taken with a small pocket camera, a Canon PowerShot A3100IS at 6mm f/2.7 on a tripod. The Catalina Mountains are blurred because the Earth rotated a little in the 6 minutes that the images were collected. The inset is a gif animation taken with a 25mm (1 inch) f/4 finder scope attached to a ST-402ME CCD camera, the inset has a field of view of 2.4x2.8 degrees and is rotated to match the comet tail and star pattern in the big image. The gif animation is 19 images with each image 90 seconds long covering 30 minutes in the life of Comet Leonard with thin clouds moving thru the animation. The comet coma is about 1/2 degree wide and the tail that can be seen is 3 degrees long. On this morning the comet was magnitude 5.5 and 25 million miles from Earth. In the large image A1 points to the comet and the inset animation was taken just before the wide field of view images.