Comets C/2020 X3 SOHO and C/2020 S3 ERASMUS

This unique image shows not only the solar corona during December 14, 2020 eclipse but two comets. The tiny one on the left (C/2020 X3 SOHO) is a small Kreutz sungrazer which was during the eclipse only 0.03 AU (4.4 millions km) far from the solar photosphere. The second one on the right (C/2020 S3 ERASMUS) was during the eclipse about 0.4 AU far from the Sun i. e. it was 13× farther. Different intensity of solar radiation caused different outlook of these two comets. Comet ERASMUS is a "classical comet" with green coma and white dust tail. Comet SOHO is different as it was exposed to about 180× more intense solar radiation. Comet's head and one of its tails have orange-red color which is the most likely neutral sodium emission. The image is oriented so that the solar North is roughly on the top. The full resolution image version you may see here.
The wide-angle image of the total solar eclipse without enhanced comets you may see here:
Click on the image or on the following reference to display the higher resolution image version (2.4 MB, PNG format).

Date14. 12. 2020
Time2nd contact 16:07:59 UT, 3rd contact 16:10:04 UT
PlaceFortin Nogueira, Neuquen, Argentina
CoordinateS 39° 57.680',   W 69° 59.576',  Alt. 485 m
ConditionsClear sky for 85 s of totality otherwise thin clouds
Solar altitude at mid-eclipse 72.4° above horizon
Optics(1) Canon EF F2/100mm (set to F2.2)
(2) Nikkor 80-400mm 1:4.5-5.6G ED VR (set to FL 400 mm, F5.6)
Camera(1) Sony Alpha 7S
(2) Nikon Z6
Exposure(1) 62 images 1/40 s, ISO 400
(2) 55 images, 1/640 s - 3 s, ISO 100
ProcessingComposition of totally 117 eclipse images. Eclipse images were calibrated by means of dark frames and flat-fields, aligned by means of phase correlation, composed by means of LDIC 6.0 software, processed using Corona 6.0 in order to visualize coronal structures. Final processing was done using ACC 6.1 software.
Image processing by Miloslav Druckmüller
Images acquired by Nick James and Andreas Möller
SoftwareAstro D3F 2.0, PhaseCorr 7.0, LDIC 6.0, Corona 6.0, Sofo ACC 6.1
NoteThe comet images were processed separately. The sky background was subtracted and the steep brightness gradient was removed.
OrientationImage must be rotated 1.9° clockwise to achieve standard orientation i.e. solar North up.
Copyright© 2020 Miloslav Druckmüller, Nick James, Andreas Möller

Miloslav Druckmüller
Institute of Mathematics, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic
Page last update: 30.1.2021