Comet Lovejoy has only recently been discovered, and it already has a starring role in its own time-lapse video.
Taken on Dec. 22 from the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile, the video captures the tail of the the comet — which ESO dubbed a fitting “Christmas present.”
Over the past year, photographers have used time-lapse videos to capture the essence of nearly every major city or big event around the world, including the traffic in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, the light in Los Angeles, the lunar eclipse, the final landing of Atlantis, the Iceland volcano and the Northern Lights. Time-lapse photography, which makes time appear to speed up, is spectacular with objects in our solar system, because their faraway, subtle motion becomes very pronounced and appears close.
Comet Lovejoy was discovered Nov. 27 by Terry Lovejoy, an Australian amateur astronomer, the ESO said, and is classified as a Kruetz sungrazer because its orbit takes it very close to the sun. The scientists at ESO say that if it survives it should reappear in the Earth’s skies in 314 years.
Days after it was photographed, the comet is still visible from the Southern hemisphere, with its bright tail of dust particles shining millions of miles long. But if you can’t catch it, you can still witness its beauty in the video below:
Before their was a time-lapse for Comet Lovejoy, there was this video, in which NASA use time-lapse photography to capture Earth as seen from space: