Amateur and professional astrophotographers worldwide have been capturing stunning images of Comet Nishimura as it journeys through our solar system.
This celestial spectacle was first spotted in August 2023 by Hideo Nishimura, an amateur astronomer from Kakegawa City, Japan, who used a Canon DSLR camera equipped with a telephoto lens. Nishimura’s remarkable discovery, made with an everyday camera, stands out in an era when most comets are detected by automated telescopes like Pan-STARRS in Hawaii.
As this cosmic wanderer approaches its nearest point to Earth, an event scheduled for September 12, and subsequently swings by its perihelion, the closest point to the sun, on September 17, anticipation is building among skywatchers. Currently traversing the Leo constellation in the pre-dawn hours before sunrise, the comet promises to offer a mesmerizing display.
To catch a glimpse of this celestial marvel, direct your gaze eastward during the early morning hours. Utilizing a stargazing app can prove invaluable in locating the comet, and for a more immersive experience, consider employing binoculars or a telescope. Expect to observe a hazy, greenish sphere through binoculars or small-to-medium-sized telescopes. With higher-powered optics, you may even discern the comet’s trailing tail.
Renowned comet hunter Michael Jäger of Austria has graced the astrophotography community with an array of breathtaking images of Comet Nishimura throughout September. In a particularly intriguing event earlier this month, Jäger captured the comet undergoing a “disconnection event,” where it temporarily shed its tail due to a surge in solar wind.
Just a few days later, on Tuesday, September 5th, Jäger’s lens caught the comet, now adorned with a well-defined tail once more, rekindling the fascination of observers worldwide.
Notably, Nick Bull, also known as Stonehenge Dronescapes, shared a captivating photograph of Comet Nishimura above the iconic Stonehenge monument on September 6th. The comet’s ethereal presence, set against the backdrop of the prehistoric stones, created a breathtaking celestial tableau.