Comet Ikeya-Zhang Photo Gallery
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Summary: In Early March 2002, Comet Ikeya-Zhang became a naked-eye fuzzball in the evening sky. It soon brightened to 3rd magnitude and delighted sky watchers with its remarkable photogenic tail. The comet even had a stunning close encounter with the Andromeda Galaxy. But all good things must come to an end. On April 30th, Ikeya-Zhang made its closest approach to Earth (0.41 AU) and since then has been receding toward the outer solar system. The fading fuzzball now (on May 2, 2002) glows like a 5th magnitude star at the limit of naked-eye visibility. Soon it will be impossible to see without a telescope. So farewell, Ikeya-Zhang! It was a great show while it lasted. wishes to thank all those who submitted to the Comet Ikeya-Zhang gallery! The comet is now fading, and the gallery is now closed to submissions.

Unless otherwise stated, all images are copyrighted by the photographers.

  Photographer, Location, Date Larger images Comments

Dr. P Clay Sherrod,
April 29
#1 Clay Sherrod: "This image of Ikeya Zhang was taken on the morning of April 29th, with the full moon very nearby! It is a composite of 8 averaged images through the 4" refractor, and shows a nice tail in spite of the sky brightness."

#1, #2 Philippe Mousette captured this image of the comet on April 26th and 27th. Each image is a one-minute exposure, taken through his 160mm telescope.

Dr. P Clay Sherrod,
April 25
#1 Clay Sherrod: "Ikeya-Zhang is maintaining her brightness morning after morning. This morning it was still measured at magnitude 3.5, slightly up from two mornings before, this in spite of strong light from the gibbous moon in the western sky. A 6.5 degree tail was seen in binoculars, and the comet clearly viewed to the naked eye even with the moonlight of predawn skies."

Francois Emond,
Embrun, France
April 22
#1 Francois Emond: "The comet's head is very large and bright, although the tail has considerably faded and shortened. It is now difficult to detect the 3 faint plumes emanating from the coma. Here is a mosaic image of the comet in a very rich star field. The image consists of two stacked 20-second exposures."

Jorgen Blom,
Stockholm, Sweden
March 14-April 22
#1 Jorgen Blom: "Five pictures of Comet Ikeya-Zhang taken near Stockholm from March 14 to April 22, all using a 300 millimeter lens and with exposure times varying from 4 to 12 minutes. One can see that on the last date, April 22, the comet's coma seems to have nearly doubled in size. In part this can be explained by the comet being much nearer Earth on April 22; the difference in distance between March 14 and April 22 is in fact about 74 million kilometers or half the distance from Earth to sun."

Dr. P Clay Sherrod,
April 22
#1 Clay Sherrod: "The comet's head is extraordinarily large now, and the tail structure is dissipating fast. The long and distinct "spike" that has been so evident in the past is now a very difficult feature. In its place you may be able to detect several very faint and fine plumes emanating from the head."

Schiaparelli Observatory,
April 21
#1 This image of Comet Ikeya-Zhang, courtesy of the Schiaparelli Astronomical Observatory in Italy, compares the comet in two images: one CCD and the other a negative. See image for technical details.

Sangku Kim,
Bucheon-City, South Korea
April 19
#1 Sangku Kim captured this very nice dual image of Ikeya-Zhang with a Takahashi EM-10 refractor, and Nikon FM2 camera with a 300mm lens at f/2.8. The image represents a 7-minute exposure on Kodak E200 film.

Mark Brown,
Prattville, Alabama
April 19
#1, #2 #3 Mark Brown: "The first photo was shot through an Orion 80mm Short Tube @ f/5. Exposure time was 5 minutes using Fuji 400 ASA film. The second photo (Ikeya-Zhang4-18b) was taken through my C8 (prime focus) with an f/5 photo reducer. Exposure time was also 5 minutes using the same film. The comet is still naked eye visible, but the tail has faded and shortened considerably since April 12th."

Jimmy Westlake,
Rocky Mountains, USA
April 19
#1, #2 Jimmy Westlake: "Last week I took a one-hour exposure of the circumpolar zone. Comet I-Z, considerably less impressive than last week, shows up as a fuzzy, aqua green trail. The Comet's trail merges into the ruddy star trail caused by Mu Cephei, the red long-period variable dubbed by Wm. Herschel as the Garnet Star. A distant aurora glows pink on the horizon. The zigs in the star trails were caused by the sudden strong wind gusts during the one-hour exposure."

Shigemi Numazawa,
April 18
#1 Shigemi Numazawa took this remarkably detailed series of images. It illustrates a "disconnection event", as a knot of material works its way down the comet's tail.

Rick Stankiewicz,
Peterborough, Ontario
April 17, 18
#1, #2 Rick Stankiewicz captured these images a day apart at about 5:00 a.m. He used a 135mm lens @ f/2.8 and an exposure time of 2 minutes.

Dr. P Clay Sherrod,
April 18
#1 Clay Sherrod: "Ikeya Zhang, although rising substantially higher in the NE morning sky, is now showing signs of fading rapidly. This image was captured just minutes before the light of dawn and after the clearing of high cirrus clouds. The comet's magnitude in binoculars was estimated at 4.3 magnitude, just visible to the naked eye, and down almost one-half magnitude since April 12."

David Moore,
April 18

#1 David Moore sent this image of Comet Ikeya-Zhang with a Topcon Camera and 400 speed film. The image represents an 8-10 second exposure.

Tim Printy,
April 17
#1 Tim Printy took this image of the comet on April 17th. He used a 200mm f2/.8 lens with Kodak Law Enforcement 400 film. The image represents a 16-minute exposure.

Charles Kiesel,
Fort Branch, IN
April 10, 15
#1, #2 Charles Kiesel: "The April 10th photo was taken with a 135mm lens and a 15 second exposure time. The April 15th photo was taken with a 200mm lens and about a 1-2 minute exposure time. Both were taken with some light pollution and thin haze."

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