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This Accidental Picture of Comet Lovejoy Is Also the Best

Illustration for article titled This Accidental Picture of Comet Lovejoy Is Also the Best

Taken by the Dark Energy Camera of Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, this accidental picture of Comet Lovejoy must be one of the most beautiful comet portraits we've ever seen.

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Below is the unedited composite image created by the Dark Energy Survey team, and you may want to download the glorious high-resolution version—all 50MB of it—here for all the amazing details.

Illustration for article titled This Accidental Picture of Comet Lovejoy Is Also the Best
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Update: researcher Brian Nord joined the conversation below and gave us a nice explanation about why and how this imaging was accidental. Thanks a lot!

This was an accidental catch, because Dark Energy Camera scans the sky methodically over a very large region of the sky. Comet Lovejoy only takes up a very small part of the sky, and we didn't intend to point at it, but the camera happened to scanning that part of the sky at that time.

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