Fascination with comet photography
Comets are fleeting visitors: when they get close to the sun, they develop a halo or tail for a short time, only to disappear again into the depths of space for a long time, sometimes even for thousands of years. But is it the rarity of a comet appearance alone that fascinates astronomers? The experienced astrophotographer Gerald Rhemann adds new facets to comet observation.
Comets are by nature little more than frozen chunks of ice, dust, and loose rock left over from the formation of the solar system. They are mostly found in the outer reaches, where the once abundant water vapor and carbon compounds solidified into ice. When such cold chunks get close to the sun, they release their cargo of frozen gases and dust particles.
Comet nuclei are often only surrounded by a featureless cloud, the coma, but under the influence of the solar wind, some also develop magnificent tails of gas and dust. Just the idea that some of the icy lumps from the depths of space come close to the earth, are then often only visible for a short time and then elude human eyes for thousands of years is fascinating …