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Green Comet

nozzer
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Green Comet

Comet 46P/Wirtanen is due to reach its closest approach to Earth on December 16th, visible in the southern sky at about 35 degrees elevation. It's already visible in a dark sky as a faint green object with a "corona" about twice the size of the Moon, but is expected to rapidly brighten as it gets closer. Supposed to be a very good binocular object and could be ten times brighter by the 16th.. One of the closest comets in modern times apparently.

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VileReynard
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Re: Green Comet

Wikipedia says:-

On 16 December 2018 the comet will pass 0.0774 AU (11,580,000 km; 7,190,000 mi) (≈30.1 LD) from Earth,[3] reaching an estimated magnitude of 4.2,[6] making this pass the brightest one predicted, and the brightest close approach for the next 20 years.[7] Its magnitude could peak as bright as magnitude 3 near its December 16, 2018 closest approach.[8]

"In The Beginning Was The Word, And The Word Was Aardvark."

gleneagles
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Re: Green Comet

Assuming there are no clouds about in what direction would you need to be looking to see it ? Or put another way what group of stars is it nearest to from the point of observing it ?

Thanks.

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nozzer
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Re: Green Comet

@gleneagles

South, just above Taurus the Bull, to the left of the Pleiades, as marked in this...

http://spaceweather.com/images2018/16dec18/skymap.png?PHPSESSID=gsf8h7j4fb4goonrm61kq2jnv3

 

This was taken with an ordinary camera last night from Tromso..46p_strip.jpg

 

 

 

petlew
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Re: Green Comet

Yes, if its cold and clear weather, the moon will be at its first quarter, so could be quite bright and spoil the view for the comet.

Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
petlew
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Re: Green Comet

Stellarium astro software is not showing it now or 16/12, however not sure if the programme shows comets, it certainly shows recurring meteor showers. But it does show that Moon will be quite bright on 16/12, at 20:00, has a time been given? at 20:00 Taurus and Pleiades (which should as has been said be a good marker) should be reasonably high over the horizon in the UK. 

Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
nozzer
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Re: Green Comet

@petlew

 

As long as Taurus is visible, which is most of the evening, the comet will be. It doesn't move much, unlike a meteor. If it continues to brighten as much as it currently is, the moon might not interfere with the view.

 

Nice pic here taken from Arizona..

http://spaceweathergallery.com/indiv_upload.php?upload_id=149832

JPN
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Re: Green Comet

I was out on Sunday evening with a good pair of binoculars, in a clear rural sky, but I'm not sure if I saw it or not. There were a few 'fuzzies' around, but can't be sure if one was the comet.

The photo referred to above as taken with a 'normal' camera, was taken with  a Nikon D810A with a 30s exposure and is a composite image of 5 separate exposures. (Info from the spaceweather.com site).  So it's a fairly specialised shot. I would guess a motor drive was needed to take that. [The Nikon D810A is a version of the D810 specially adapted for astrophotography and seems to run at about US$3000].

The arizona photo mentioned (from the same website) was taken through a refractor telescope with (apparently!) a 100min exposure.  [Not sure I believe it's 100min, maybe 100s).  That would definitely need a motor drive, or you'd see star trails.

I shall certainly be out to try and spot it again if the weather clears, but I don't think this is going to be a 'spectacular' naked eye object. More like one for the keen amateur.

JPN
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Re: Green Comet

Petlew - Stellarium can show comets, but since they're a fairly variable beast you need to update it with the latest data from the minor planet databases.  Depending on your version, in the configuration menus for solar system objects there should be a menu for adding comet data from the internet databases. Once added it should then show up.

 

 

nozzer
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Re: Green Comet

@JPN

Yes, you're right. He used an Astrotrac drive, one of the new portable mounts. Smiley

petlew
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Re: Green Comet

@JPN That part of the night sky is quite rich in "Fuzzies" so you could well have been seeing distant galaxy's. Especially if as you say are in a dark rural area without the interference of street lighting, good binoculars will show some of the more well known ones. I have a good pair of Olympus bi's with a tripod mount, the view is wide enough not to need constant correction, or shivering hands in winter.

Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
shutter
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Re: Green Comet

A queston to all you stargazers..... I remember having a program some years ago, where you could "visualise" the night sky from your own ( input ) location.. on the computer... which helps new users of astronomy to locate what they see above their own location, in relation to the various "areas" such as mentioned  "Taurus".. I can`t remember the name of the program... it would be good to get it back on again...

Anyone else remember it  ?

 

nozzer
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Re: Green Comet

@shutter

 

This is from any location in the UK. 

https://astronomynow.com/uk-sky-chart/

nozzer
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Re: Green Comet

@shutter

If you select 11pm and late month you will see a star called Aldebaran due south. Under that is the word Taurus. It's a bit faint lettering.

Jonpe
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Re: Green Comet

@shutter  I think I got a program like that on a free disk that came with a computer magazine in the late 90s.  I think it was an encyclopaedia program with the astonomy program as an extra.  I remember changing the date to the date of the solar eclipse for a 'preview'.