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103P/Hartley - Naked Eye Comet In October

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Author Topic: 103P/Hartley - Naked Eye Comet In October  (Read 5350 times)
martinastro
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« on: September 15, 2010, 05:07:13 pm »



(image credit: Michael Jager)

Comet 103P/Hartley 2 is now mag +9.1 in Andromeda and brightening rapidly as it moves NE at 1/2 degree per day. The comet is perfectly placed high in the sky near the zenith and is visible all night long. It will peak at mag +5.0 during late October when it will be 1.12 AU from the Sun and make a 11 million Km pass by Earth making this the closest approach of any comet in the last few centuries (source S&T). It will race across a large portion of sky during Oct and make for a nice binocular and wide field photo opps as it moves below the Double Cluster followed by a very close conjunction with Capella. The comet may be very large when at peak magnitude. Here's a few links for further reading...

Sky & Tel article...

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/home/102632669.html

Finder chart from Skyhound....



Finder chart from Sky & Tel...



http://media.skyandtelescope.com/images/CometHartley2-bw.jpg (large version of chart)

I tracked down the comet last night using the 8" S.Cass and found it to be a difficult object which required good dark adaption and averted vision. The comet is green in colour, 5-6' in dia, and very diffuse at the edges. With wide field optics/aperture effect the coma my look brighter so large binoculars might produce a better view. Best of luck!
« Last Edit: September 15, 2010, 05:13:47 pm by martinastro » Report Spam   Logged

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markt
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2010, 07:36:49 am »

That's great news Martin!  Looking forward to this one, seems ages since we've had a decent comet! Smiley
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DaveH64
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2010, 09:30:40 am »

This is one I'm hoping for a photo opportunity of I see its jumped to mag 6.4 on Heavens Above today.
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martinastro
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2010, 04:06:36 pm »

There is some discussion on the comets mailing list that this comet is much bigger than most are reporting, telescopes have been getting coma diameters of 5-6' however binoculars in dark skies are showing 24' - thats almost the size of the full Moon, this could be a big diffuse object when it gets close to Earth. It should be shy of mag +6 already, we just need to wait on the Moon to wane now  Smiley
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Big Dipper
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2010, 07:20:58 pm »

Like Dave I'm hoping to get a photo opportunity, plus a visual one too once the Moon has bu****ed off waned sufficiently. The fact that it's already at around magnitude 6 is certainly very good to hear!
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Remember:- If all else fails, read the Instruction Manual! Grin
 


Andy
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2010, 01:40:13 pm »

Great news, now all we need is a dose of clear skies!  I'm hoping to be able to image this, fingers crossed!
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2010, 08:20:29 pm »

Had an email from the producer of the sky at night today requesting images as they are running an article on the comet, so, if you want a bit of tv fame and you have clear skies drop me a pm and i'll forward the details Smiley
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martinastro
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2010, 08:35:23 pm »

Thanks for the heads up Mark - all we need is a clear sky now but it ain't happening here tonight so far... Sad
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martinastro
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2010, 07:48:21 pm »

Clear skies tonight, hopefully we will get a look at Hartley and perhaps even an image if it's bright enough...
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John9929
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2010, 11:07:46 pm »

103P/Hartley tonight at 21.09BST 50mm @ f2.8 ISO1600 25 seconds.
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John9929.
martinastro
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« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2010, 12:31:11 am »

Great capture John!, the nitfy fifty is a beauty of a lens for this work!

Conor and I observed and imaged it this evening from Glenshane before moonrise. Mag +7.2, coma possibly near 15 in dia, it looked fairly large and colourful in the 10x50s. It's proximity to 14 Cass made photography very difficult especially with the slow kit lens but I picked it up anyway. First two images are 18mm and 28mm, the last two are crops.







« Last Edit: September 30, 2010, 12:32:43 am by martinastro » Report Spam   Logged

markt
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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2010, 07:06:14 am »

Great shots guys!  Definitely not naked eye for me in Brum, but an easy binocular target never the less.
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2010, 03:15:51 pm »

Superb Guys well done, Glad you got it. Great to capture it. As i was looking at the pics thought i would have to ask you to line the constellations , but saw you already had it done. Wink
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martinastro
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« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2010, 03:40:09 pm »

Thanks Mark and Dave, lol yes the constellation lines were really needed, there are soo many stars in that area that it can be difficult to tell what's what. The sky from Glenshane can be very dark on a good night. Hope you get a chance to see Hartley soon, I hope to be folllowing and imaging the comet on a regular basis.
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John9929
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« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2010, 05:13:50 pm »

Thanks all! Here's another from last night with some things added
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John9929.


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