Astrophoto of the month - January 2022 - C/2021 A1 (Leonard) 27th December 2021

The gorgeous Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) by Lionel Majzik

A wonderful and special astrophotography image each month by Hungarian astrophotographers.

The comet of suprises

The comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) was the comet of true suprises. It was predicted to be a spectacular newcomer just on the verge of visibility for the naked eye. For a short period of time it could be even photographed from Hungary before disappearing on the south-western horizon. It disappeared as it moved to the early evening sky of the southern hemisphere, where it could only be captured by European astrophotographers with remote-controlled robotic telescopes.

The comet of remote imaging

To a huge surprise the comet, which looked a bit "simple" from Hungary, grew an extremely complex tail, which stretched over 60 degrees over the southern hemisphere after a while. However, its beautiful details would have been hidden from our eyes forever, unless some European photographers used the short amount of time around twilight to capture this beautiful phenomenon with robotic telescopes. 

A Hungarian astrophoto with remote-controlled telescope

Astrophotography with remote controlled telescopes is anything but easy! Let’s read the account of the Hungarian astrophotographer Lionel Majzik, who also had success after his Austrian colleagues, but which was not without any struggle.

My image taken on the 25th of December was a kind of rehearsal for the 15 minutes of telescope time I managed to book on the 200 mm telescope of the Skygems Remote Observatories in Namibia. All signs showed that I will be finally able to gather enough raw material, but then the Namibian sky, which had been clear for several days, became cloudy at the beginning of my telescope time. I was utterly disappointed as this night was my only chance… But later I discovered the notification about my unsuccessful booking. I immediately contacted Lukas Demetz from Skygems Remote Observatories. I knew that capturing this comet was also important for him, and he reacted immediately and offered to start the exposures anyway despite the clouds. So some compromises remained, but in the end, I was able to capture the comet, for which I am very grateful to the owner of the network.