In a happy accident, Comet Lovejoy just happened to be in the field of view of the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera, the world’s most powerful digital camera. One member of the observing team said it was a “shock” to see Comet Lovejoy pop up on the display in the control room.
Comet 2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), on December 27, 2014, as seen by the Dark Energy Survey. Credit: Fermilab’s Marty Murphy, Nikolay Kuropatkin, Huan Lin and Brian Yanny.
“It reminds us that before we can look out beyond our Galaxy to the far reaches of the Universe, we need to watch out for celestial objects that are much closer to home!” wrote the team on the Dark Energy Detectives blog.