The newly discovered Comet Swan is currently gliding across South African skies…

Local astronomer, Heine Wieben Rasmussen, has captured a series of spectacular images of Comet Swan from the remote mountains of the Cederberg in South Africa, where he owns Bliss & Stars, a mindfulness and astronomy retreat, with his wife Daria.

Comets are cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock and dust that orbit the Sun – they leave streaking tails of debris behind them as they travel across the sky. The Greeks and Romans and many other ancient cultures, believed that the appearance of comets was a sign of significant earthly events to come.

The C/2020 F8 (SWAN) or Comet SWAN, is a comet that was discovered in images taken by the SWAN camera on March 25, 2020, aboard the Solar Heliospheric Observer (SOHO) spacecraft. It is to be found 100 million km from Earth in the constellation of Cetus and is less than 50 degrees from the Sun.

In the Southern hemisphere, the comet is barely visible, but Rasmussen is in exactly the right spot to see it.

Rasmussen said the reason he was able to obtain the photographs was the darkness of the sky: “I am very fortunate to live in the Cederberg in a dark sky area, where there is very little light pollution. Increasing urbanisation has kept skies in the towns and cities artificially light, so few people have experienced the magic of the Milky Way crossing a star-studded sky.”

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“We have lost our connection with nature on so many levels. It is time to pause and reconnect – looking up at the stars is a wonderful way to regain perspective.”


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So exciting! Heine captured this newly discovered comet SWAN today early morning. 💫 SWAN is brightens steadily and it gets more and more visible with the set of binoculars and soon even with a naked eye. Comets are dusty snowballs, which are largely made of ice and leave streaking “tails” of debris behind them. It is so magic to see them through the telescope. ✨ Bushmen, Romans and Greeks believed that the appearance of comets was a sign of significant earthly events to come. 🤔😲💫 Well, well… 📷 by Heine Wieben @blissandstars . . . . . #swan #comet #swancomet #astrophotography #astrophoto #deepsky #c2020f8 #blissandstars #nightsky #astronomy #nightskyphotography

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