Comet captured in colour


Gemini scrambles to grab a photo opportunity.


Two-colour composite image of C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) by Travis Rector.

Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA.

The first-ever comet from beyond our Solar System has been successfully imaged in multiple colours.

The recently discovered C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) was captured using the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph on the Gemini North Telescope on Hawaii’s Maunakea.

"This image was possible because of Gemini’s ability to rapidly adjust observations and observe objects like this, which have very short windows of visibility,” says Andrew Stephens, who coordinated the observations.

“However, we really had to scramble for this one since we got the final details at 3:00 am and were observing it by 4:45.”

The image shows a very pronounced tail, indicative of outgassing, which is what defines a cometary object.

It was obtained with four 60-second exposures in bands (filters) r and g. Blue and red dashes are images of background stars which appear to streak due to the motion of the comet.

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  1. http://www.cometwatch.co.uk/interstellar-comet-c-2019-q4-borisov/
  2. https://www.gemini.edu/sciops/instruments/gmos/
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