Comet C/2014 W2 (PANSTARRS) is now past its peak magnitude and dimming each day as it moves to the outer reaches of the solar system, it is currently about 3.5 AU from Earth. I place the magnitude around +14.6. It has an orbital period of over 60,000 years. This comet was discovered in 2014 by PANSTARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System).
I prepared two images of the comet including an animated GIF file. The animation sequence shows the comet movement after 49-minutes. The first image was collected from 2109 HRS Eastern DST on August 23, 2016. The second image data was collected from 2158 HRS Eastern DST on August 23, 2016.
Tech Specs: Meade LX90 12” telescope, Antares Focal Reducer, and Canon 6D camera all mounted on a Celestron CGEM-DX mount. 2-minutes of collected data using 15-second subs at ISO 3200. Stacked in DSS and refined in Corel Paintshop Pro and Adobe Lightroom. GIF animation down in Photoshop.
The Sky Live (http://theskylive.com/c2014w2-info)
My next target for the evening of August 22, 2016 was the asteroid Pallas, this is the first asteroid I have photographed. At the time I took the images, I had no idea if it was centered or not, luckily, it was on the upper edge of the frame. For comparison, I selected the same piece of sky from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (www.sdss.org), you can clearly see Pallas in my image compared to the SDSS image.
Tech Specs: Meade LX90 12” telescope, Antares Focal Reducer, and Canon 6D camera all mounted on a Celestron CGEM-DX mount. 2-minutes of collected data using 15-second subs at ISO 3200. Stacked in DSS and refined in Corel Paintshop Pro.
I found this interesting graphic in Wikimedia showing the sizes of the first ten Asteroids to be discovered compared to the Earth’s Moon, all to scale. The objects, left to right are: 1 dwarf planet Ceres, 2 Pallas, 3 Juno, 4 Vesta, 5 Astraea, 6 Hebe, 7 Iris, 8 Flora, 9 Metis, and 10 Hygiea.
Learn more about Pallas by following the links below:
NASA Asteriod Fact Sheet (http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/asteroidfact.html)
The SkyLive (http://theskylive.com/pallas-info)
Comet C/2016 A8 (LINEAR) is currently close to its maximum brightness, which is predicted to peak to about 14.0. It is also near its closest approach to Earth. It has an orbital period of 207 years, thus those humans living today will never see it again. This comet was discovered in January 2016 as part of the LINEAR Survey. LINEAR stands for Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research and is a research project to detect near-Earth objects that can threaten the Earth (see link below).
The location of the comet is in the top (photographed on August 22, 2016) black and white image, and marked with yellow lines. The reference image, below my image, was obtained from the Digitized Sky Survey. The two galaxies in the image provide a comparison for the visual magnitude.
Tech Specs: Meade LX90 12” telescope, Antares Focal Reducer, and Canon 6D camera all mounted on a Celestron CGEM-DX mount. 2-minutes of collected data using 15-second subs at ISO 3200. Stacked in DSS and refined in Corel Paintshop Pro and Adobe Lightroom.
Notification Telegram (http://www.cbat.eps.harvard.edu/iau/cbet/004200/CBET004245.txt)
Lincoln Laboratory (http://www.ll.mit.edu/mission/space/linear/)
Here is an image I captured last night showing (from top to bottom) Saturn, Mars and Antares. Do you see the fuzzy ball to the lower right of Antares? That is a globular cluster known as the Cat’s Eye or Messier 4.
Tech Specs: Canon T4i, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens, iOptron SkyTracker, ISO 800, 30 seconds, f/2.8, 73mm.
How is this for a close planetary conjunction? Check out the view after sunset on August 27, 2016 (from Northern Latitudes) and see Venus and Jupiter get within five arc minutes of each other. Probably too low on the horizon to get my telescope on it, but I’ll be making the attempt using a 400mm lens and x2 extender. I hope to see your photos online!
Mark your calendar now!