Category Archives: Comets

Comet C/2016 R2 in Taurus

Here is an image of comet C/2016 R2 taken last evening in the constellation Taurus. The star Gamma Tauri was causing some interference on my focal reducer that I didn’t pick up on until the images were processed, you can see some of the noise and light ring below and to the left of the comet. The comet is near its closest approach to Earth and near its maximum brightness.

Comet C/2016 R2 in Taurus

Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX90, Celestron CGEM-DX mount, Canon 6D stock camera, ISO 3200, 18 x 60 seconds using Backyard EOS with darks, flats and bias frames, guided using an Orion 60mm guide scope with an attached ZWO ASI290MC camera. Image Date: January 6, 2018. Location: The Dark Side Observatory in Weatherly, PA.

…Tom

Comet Johnson (C/2015 V2)

Quick single frame shot of Comet Johnson (C/2015 V2) as it passes from the constellation Bootes to Virgo.

Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens, Tiffen star filter, tripod mounted, ISO 3200, f/2.8, 10 seconds, 73mm. Date: June 14, 2017. Location: Weatherly, Pennsylvania.

…Tom

Observation of Comet 53P/Van Biesbroeck – September 1, 2016

I’ve been working on observing some faint comets over the last couple weeks – still learning how to estimate magnitudes, right now all estimates are visual SWAG’s. Here is comet 53P/Van Biesbroeck passing close to the galaxy IC 1334 (magnitude 14.1). Based on data I reviewed last evening, the magnitude of this comet was supposed to around 13.7. Based on my imaging I would say the magnitude was below 14.1.

It just so happens that this comet was discovered on this exact date in 1954 by George Van Biesbroeck at Yerkes Observatory, he found it on a plate/photo taken on September 1st.

Comet 53P/Van Biesbroeck

Comet 53P/Van Biesbroeck

Tech Specs: Meade LX90 12” telescope, Antares Focal Reducer, and Canon 6D camera. 10-minutes of collected data using 15-second subs at ISO 3200, 5 darks, 5 bias, stacked in DSS.

You can find out more about this comet at the flowing links:

The SkyLive (http://theskylive.com/53p-info)

NASA JPL (http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?orb=1;sstr=53P)

Cometography (http://cometography.com/pcomets/053p.html)

Clear skies!

…Tom

Comet C/2014 W2 (PANSTARRS) Observation on August 23, 2016

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).

Comet C/2014 W2 (PANSTARRS)

Comet C/2014 W2 (PANSTARRS)

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.

Comet C/2014 W2 (PANSTARRS) animation

Comet C/2014 W2 (PANSTARRS) animation

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.

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan-STARRS)

NASA JPL (http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?orb=1;sstr=2014+W2)

The Sky Live (http://theskylive.com/c2014w2-info)

Clear skies!

…Tom

Comet C/2016 A8 (LINEAR) Observation on August 22, 2016

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.

Comet C/2016/A8 (LINEAR)

Comet C/2016/A8 (LINEAR)

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/)

Clear skies!

…Tom

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