Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard), California

Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard)
Panamint Valley, California   –   December 5, 2021
— Ralph Paonessa
Takahashi FSQ-106EDX III refractor + 0.73X   *   f/3.7

Comet Leonard before sunrise December 5, 2021.

I spent five nights trying to photograph this nely-dsicovered comet, the first one found in 2021.

t was brightening as is approached the Earth ans Sun, which meanit it would be low in the eastern sky before dawn, where the rising sun would quickly wash out its faint light. From my very dark location in the desert (SQM 21.5), that also meant shooting into the bright dome of light pollution from Las Vegas, over 100 miles away.

As Leonard passed the Earth on it's approach to the Sun, it was moving fast relative to the star field, so expsoures had to be relatively short.

To compensate for the motion, two stacks of images had to be produced. The first was aligned on the moving comet, and the smeared stars could be removed. A second image, aligned on the stars, effectively removing the comet.

These two could then be combined to produce this image.

LRGB exposure total 1.3 hr.:

L - 7 x 3 min.

R - 6 x 3 min.

G - 5 x 3 min.

B - 5 x 3 min.

Telescope tracked on stars. Processed in PixInsight and Lightroom.

Photo ID: Comet Leonard 2021-12-05 LRGB_combined