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Best photos of Comet Catalina

Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) has been a wonderful target for photographers. See photos of this icy visitor from the depths of space, here. Thanks to all who submitted!

Comet Catalina on January 21, 2016, captured from the shared telescopes of Slooh.com by Don Wahl.

Comet Catalina on January 21, 2016, captured from the shared telescopes of Slooh.com by Don Wahl.

When Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) emerged into our predawn sky in November, many hoped it would become visible to the eye. It did not do so, but Comet Catalina has still been a fascinating object, an icy visitor from the Oort comet cloud and a great target for photographers. So enjoy these images of this cosmic visitor, taken by members of the EarthSky community. And know that – before entering the realm of the planets – Comet Catalina is thought to have had an orbit around our sun of several million years. It rounded the sun on November 15, 2015 and began heading outward again. The trajectory of this visitor from the Oort cloud suggests it will be ejected from the solar system, and we will never see this comet again. Our thanks to all who posted!

Want to see Comet Catalina? Click here for more on what to expect.

Mark Shelton acquired 54 two-minute exposures of the comet over two nights - January 15 and 16, 2016 - to create this composite image.

Mark Shelton acquired 54 two-minute exposures of the comet over two nights – January 15 and 16, 2016 – to create this composite image.

Comet Catalina on January 15, 2016, just before its closest point to Earth.  Photo by Paul Howell in Weston, Somerset, UK.

Comet Catalina on January 15, 2016, just before its closest point to Earth. Photo by Paul Howell in Weston, Somerset, UK.

Comet Catalina near the bright star Arcturus - with a meteor!  Photo taken January 3, 2016 by Eliot Herman in the foothills near Tucson, Arizona.

Comet Catalina near the bright star Arcturus – with a meteor! Photo taken January 3, 2016 by Eliot Herman in the Tucson, Arizona foothills. Visit Eliot on Flickr.

View larger. | Comet Catalina (l) near the reddish star Antares in the constellation Bootes - on the morning of New Year's Day, January 1, 2016 - by Chris Levitan Photography.

View larger. | Comet Catalina near the reddish star Antares in the constellation Bootes – on the morning of New Year’s Day, January 1, 2016 – by Chris Levitan Photography. Visit Chris on Facebook.

View larger. | Sara Slate in Austin, Texas, wrote:

View larger. | Sara Slate in Austin, Texas, wrote on December 31, 2015: “I have been trying to pick up Comet Catalina on camera for several weeks now without much luck. I don’t have a tracker for my camera, so it’s been difficult to expose the comet without it just looking like a star trail. I finally had better luck this morning!” Thanks, Sara! Visit Sara’s website.

Greg Hogan caught the comet on December 16, 2015.  He wrote:

Greg Hogan caught the comet on December 16, 2015. He wrote: “Hey, wanted to share an unexpected surprise. I was imaging Catalina this morning and when I reviewed the shots, I noticed something in the image, turns out it is a galaxy!” In fact, it’s the galaxy NGC 5496. Thanks, Greg!

Abhinav Singhai in India caught this photo on December 14, 2015.  He wrote:

Abhinav Singhai in India caught this photo on December 14, 2015. He wrote: “Single shot of Comet Catalina along with Venus and a meteor, on Gemind meteor shower night, over Sariska Palace, Rajasthan.” Visit Abhinav Singhai on Flickr.

Comet Catalina on December 11, 2015 by Tom Wildoner.  Visit Tom's blog LeisurelyScientist.com.

Comet Catalina on December 11, 2015 by Tom Wildoner. Visit Tom’s blog LeisurelyScientist.com.

View larger. | Matthew Chin in Hong Kong caught Comet Catalina on December 11.

View larger. | Matthew Chin in Hong Kong caught Comet Catalina on December 11.

View larger. | Comet Catalina on December 10 by MC Eduardo Alamilla Esquivel in Saltillo, Mexico.

View larger. | Comet Catalina on December 10 by MC Eduardo Alamilla Esquivel in Saltillo, Mexico.

View larger. | Greg Hogan in Kathleen, Georgia caught this photo on December 7, 2015.  He wrote:

View larger. | Greg Hogan in Kathleen, Georgia caught this photo on December 7, 2015. He wrote: “So what are the odds? I was going through the images from Dec 7th and noticed that in one of the shots there was two meteors! One was the tail end of a bright one, and one is faint. I saw some large bright ones that morning but was not sure if they were in the frame. It seems part of one was.”

View larger. | Plus, Greg Hogan of Kathleen, Georgia, of December 7 moon, Venus and Comet Catalina.  Greg told EarthSky:

View larger. | Greg Hogan also created this awesome composite image of the December 7 moon, Venus and Comet Catalina. Greg told EarthSky: “I did one short exposure to expose for the moon. I then merged the two images to over lap to get the lunar details. I used a Canon 7D on a EQ Mount for tracking. I stacked the image in DEEP SKY STACKER and balanced the exposures using Lightroom 4.” This photo was the Astronomy Picture of the Day for December 12, 2015. Congrats, Greg!

Comet Catalina on December 7 by Geraint Smith in New Mexico.

Comet Catalina on December 7 by Geraint Smith in New Mexico.

View larger. | Tom Wildoner had to over-expose the moon and Venus to catch Comet Catalina nearby.  Visit Tom's blog at LeisurelyScientist.com

View larger. | Tom Wildoner in Pennsylvania over-exposed the moon and Venus to catch Comet Catalina nearby. Visit Tom’s blog at LeisurelyScientist.com

View larger. | Nikolaos Pantazis caught the moon, Venus and Comet Catalina from Cape Sounion, Greece on December 7.

View larger. | Nikolaos Pantazis caught the moon, Venus and Comet Catalina from Cape Sounion, Greece on December 7.

View larger. | Comet Catalina caught on December 6, 2015 by Brian D. Ottum in Rancho Hidalgo, New Mexico.

View larger. | Comet Catalina caught on December 6, 2015 by Brian D. Ottum in Rancho Hidalgo, New Mexico.

Animated gif of Comet Catalina - composed of images taken December 4, 2015 - by Doug Durig.  In this image, you can see some detail in the comet's tail ...

Comet Catalina images taken December 4, 2015 by Doug Durig. Here, you can see some detail in the comet’s tail …

Greg Hogan submitted this photo to EarthSky.  He Comet Catalina on December 4, 2015.  Thanks, Greg!

Greg Hogan submitted this photo to EarthSky. It’s Comet Catalina on December 4, 2015. Thanks, Greg!

This video from YouTube user “tamekich” shows comet Catalina as seen from Japan on November 25,2015.

View larger. | Michael Jaeger shares this amazing picture of Comet Catalina as seen from Austria on November 24, 2015.

View larger. | Michael Jaeger shared this amazing picture of Comet Catalina with EarthSky. He captured this photo from Austria on November 24 and wrote: “I see a faint third tail between the two (main) tails.”

A new image taken by Douglas T. Durig this morning - November 23, 2015. Notice the two tails.

An image taken by Douglas T. Durig this morning – November 23, 2015 – at Cordell-Lorenz Observatory in Sewanee, Tennessee. Notice the two tails. Visit the comets and animations page from Cordell-Lorenz Observatory.

November 22 capture of Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) by Chris Schur from Payson, Arizona. 90-second exposure. Chris caught this image a few minutes before dawn brightness interfered. The twin tails are clearly seen. Visit Chris' astrophotography page.

November 22 capture of Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) by Chris Schur from Payson, Arizona. 90-second exposure. Chris caught this image a few minutes before dawn brightness interfered. The twin tails are clearly seen. Visit Chris’ astrophotography page.

Tim Herring in Boise, Idaho, caught the comet on November 22.

Tim Herring in Boise, Idaho, caught the comet on November 22.

Comet Catalina on November 21, 2015 by Douglas T. Durig at Cordell-Lorenz Observatory in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Comet Catalina on November 21, 2015 by Douglas T. Durig at Cordell-Lorenz Observatory in Sewanee, Tennessee. Visit the comets and animations page from Cordell-Lorenz Observatory.

View larger. |

View larger. | November 20, 2015 capture of Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) by Ajay Talwar in India. This is the first capture of the comet we saw, after it had rounded the sun, when it emerged into the predawn sky. Visit Ajay’s astrophotography pages at ajaytalwar.com and aperturetelescopes.com.

View larger. | Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) on October 1, 2015 by José J. Chambó (cometografia.es).

View larger. | Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) on October 1, 2015 by José J. Chambó (cometografia.es).

View larger.

View larger. | Photo of Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) by Efraín Morales of the Astronomical Society of the Caribbean. This photo was taken last August, 2015.

Bottom line: Photos of Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) submitted to EarthSky, or posted to our pages on Facebook and G+. Thanks to all who posted!

Deborah Byrd

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