Over the weekend, incoming Comet Garradd passed beautifully close to globular star cluster M71. For all those amateur astronomers caught under hurricane clouds, John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio, recorded the encounter in the form of a 2.5 hour time-lapse movie:

"It was so cool watching the comet's tail cross the cluster," says Chumack. "I had a great view through my home-made 16-inch telescope."

At the moment, Comet Garradd can only be seen through a backyard telescope (recommended: The Comet Hunter). It is, however, approaching the sun and brightening. Recent projections place it at peak magnitude 6, on the threshold of naked-eye visibility, in February 2012. Because Comet Garradd is a first-time visitor to the inner solar system, it could behave in unexpected ways, perhaps exceeding those expectations. Stay tuned--and meanwhile browse the image links below.

More Images
From Daniele Cipollina of Arquata Scrivia, Alessandria, Italy; from Nick Howes of Cherhill in Wiltshire UK; from Ulf Petersson of Öland, Sweden; from Doug Zubenel of Linn Co., Kansas; from Marek Harman of Vartovka observatory, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia; from Karl Beck of Observatory Michelbach, Austria; from Jimmy Westlake of Stagecoach, Colorado; from Marian Urbaník of Čadca, Slovak republic; from Becky Ramotowski of Tijeras, New Mexico.

Comet Links:
Finder charts, 3D orbit.