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 Post subject: Comet 46P/Wirtanen
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:08 pm 
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This is the comet which could be a naked-eye object in our skies over Christmas.
At the moment it's high in the southern skies, so I've just used a brand-new iTelescope in New South Wales to get myself an image:
Attachment:
File comment: Comet Wirtanen on 3-Nov. 2x 120-sec with C11 at f/2.2
46p_3nov.png
46p_3nov.png [ 443.41 KiB | Viewed 470 times ]

The telescope itself is a Celestron C11 operating at f/2.2 - presumably using some kind of HyperStar attachment to run it as a Schmidt-camera? I've always wanted to try one of these.
Image


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 Post subject: Re: iTelescope T68
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:23 pm 
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rwilkinson wrote:
The telescope itself is a Celestron C11 operating at f/2.2 - presumably using some kind of HyperStar attachment

It's actually an 11" Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph!:
https://www.celestron.com/products/11-in-rowe-ackermann-schmidt-astrograph


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 Post subject: Re: Comet 46P/Wirtanen
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:56 pm 
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I've been trying to get an updated picture of this comet, but have been baulked by poor weather at the iTelescope site in Bathurst (New South Wales) over the last few days.
But just before lunchtime (i.e. the middle of tonight over there!) I hit the jackpot, and have just been proccessing my data:
Attachment:
File comment: Comet Wirtanen on 30-Nov. 6x 60-sec with 11" Rowe-Ackermann at f/2.2
46p_30nov.png
46p_30nov.png [ 536.95 KiB | Viewed 271 times ]
The complete image will be on the front cover of the December issue of The Bolton Astronomer - out tomorrow!

And note that this comet is expected to be even brighter when it reaches our skies around Christmas - more details in our magazine...


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 Post subject: Re: Comet 46P/Wirtanen
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:26 pm 
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I managed to catch my first glimpse of it from Bolton this evening.
Although it was very low in the SE (only 16 degrees altitude at 8pm), I managed to find a spot in the garden which gave me enough of a view.
Then it started to cloud over, and I finished my imaging run holding an umbrella over the 'scope and laptop!
Attachment:
File comment: Comet Wirtanen from Bolton on 3-Dec. 14x 90-sec with Hx916 on 80ED at f/4.6.
46p_3dec.png
46p_3dec.png [ 337.53 KiB | Viewed 233 times ]


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 Post subject: Re: Comet 46P/Wirtanen
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:17 am 
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If we get any clear sky tonight, have a look for this comet. It's currently tracking between Cetus and Taurus:
Attachment:
46P_12dec.png
46P_12dec.png [ 175.82 KiB | Viewed 99 times ]

It's quite close to Earth at the moment (around 7 million miles) but is further out from the Sun than us: which is why we can see it in the night sky, rather than low down in the twilight like many other comets.


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 Post subject: Re: Comet 46P/Wirtanen
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:27 am 
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Thankfully the clouds did clear last night - although there must still have been some haze, as I could only just make out The Pleiades with the unaided eye!
With such poor contrast I struggled to see the comet with my Helios 15x70 binoculars: I could only just make it out using averted vision. I also tried my EEV image-intensifier, fitted with a 200mm lens, but didn't do any better with that.
Finally I tried my Bushnell DNV (Digital Night-Vision) 6x50 monocular, and was pleasantly surpised: I could see the comet much better through that. And I used its video-capture facility to record a few 30-sec .AVI files for processing:
Attachment:
File comment: Comet Wirtanen on 12-Dec with the DNV camera. 4x 30-sec video captures, processed in IRIS
46p_12dec_dnv.png
46p_12dec_dnv.png [ 69.62 KiB | Viewed 87 times ]
The bright stars in the top-right are Ksi & Omicron Tauri, which are 3rd magnitude, and the star very close to the comet is the 9th-magnitude Hipparcos 16342.
Meanwhile, I was using my Atik 16IC camera for some more conventional imaging:
Attachment:
File comment: Comet Wirtanen on 12-Dec. 50x 60-sec with Atik 16IC on Starwave 80ED at f/4.7
46p_12dec.png
46p_12dec.png [ 220.29 KiB | Viewed 87 times ]
although seeing how large and diffuse and fast-moving the comet was, I should have used a wider field of view.


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 Post subject: Re: Comet 46P/Wirtanen
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 8:17 am 
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I got another picture last night: despite the moonlight, haze and patchy cloud (hence the gaps in the star-trails).
Attachment:
File comment: Comet Wirtanen on 14-Dec. 36x 90-sec with Hx916 on Starwave 80ED at f/4.6
46p_14dec.png
46p_14dec.png [ 231.27 KiB | Viewed 44 times ]


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