Comet C/2004 Q2 Machholz

A comet is discovered on August 27, 2004 by Donald Machholz of Colfax, California. Comet Machholz will be at its closest to Earth Jan. 5-6, 2005, when it will be 32 million miles (51 million kilometers) away. In January predicted magnitude could become as bright as fourth magnitude and can bee visible with naked eye.

The comet not only has a beautiful green atmosphere, but also two tails. One tail is the ion tail. It's made of electrically charged atoms and molecules (ions) blown away from the coma by the solar wind. This tail points straight away from the sun. The other tail is the dust tail. Comet dust is weightier than gas. It resists solar wind pressure and lingers behind the comet, tracing its orbit.

Comet Machholz skimmed past the Pleiades on January 7. 2005 - so close that the ion tail of the comet seemed to touch the star cluster.

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Image is mosaic of two images, each combined of two 120 second exposure images (Megrez 80 APO, TeleVue 0,8x field flattener, Canon EOS 300D, 1600 ASA).

Comet on January 1. 2005 (18:50 - 18:56UT ). Image is obtained through a Megrez 80 triplet fluorite APO , TeleVue field flattener/focal reducer 0,8x and Canon EOS 300D (3x120 second exposure).

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Comet Machholz on January 5. 2005. near famous Pleiades - M45 - star cluster. Canon EOS300D at 55mm, 3x60 second exposure

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Comet through a Megrez 80 triplet fluorite APO , TeleVue field flattener/focal reducer 0,8x and Canon EOS 300D( 3x120 second exposure assembled in Photoshop).

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Comet Machholz on January 6. 2005. On the next evening of Jan. 7, it will be closest to the famous Pleiades star cluster. Obtained through a Canon EOS300D at 55mm, 3x60 second exposure.

Close-up image on January 6. 2005. Ion tail and dust tail are easily visible (Megrez 80 triplet fluorite APO , TeleVue field flattener/focal reducer 0,8x and Canon EOS 300D; 3x120 second exposure).

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