Friday, November 29, 2013
NASA's Comet ISON observing campaign blog which is being regularly updated by respected comet supremo Karl Battams. UPDATE: 05:30 UT ISON continues to brighten and a new dust tail appears to be swinging around from its transit path towards its outbound trajectory.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Comet Lovejoy is determined not to be outdone by Comet ISON. However, reports circulating through social media this morning that Comet ISON has now reached magnitude 4, will make sure it has more work to do - as if comets had opinions anyway. Comet Lovejoy continues to brighten and its ion and dust tails continue to grow. It's coma is a massive 3.7 arcmins now in a 180sec image, which is probably closer to 2 arcmins in reality as the movement probably overstates it a little. It is very hard to make a magnitude estimate now from CCD images. Magnitude estimates are now best made by binocular observations and comparing the brightness with the known brightness of nearby stars. Comet ISON is now a naked eye object. Lovejoy, I suspect is not far away either. The encroaching moonlight was not very kind to last night's attempt to capture a nice shot. Early this week Rolando Lingusti took a brilliant shot of Comet Lovejoy that was featured in Tony Flander's article in Sky and Telescope. Advanced Astro Imaging Conference on the Gold Coast. As a keynote speaker he outlined his search methods, which were, I have to say very comprehensive and methodical. Catching two brilliant Christmas Comets in three years is not a fluke, its through sheer hardwork and relentless persuit of what the Oort Cloud throws up each year. Image Credit: P.Lake 3 x 180sec R,G,B T11 iTelescope.net I found it a bit easier to observe the details in the tail in the individual subframes Luminance channel, which I didn't use in the R,G,B image as I ws getting too much light to manage with the intruding moonlight.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Comet Siding Spring continues on its merry way. Currently overshadowed a little by the 2012 comets, ISON, Lovejoy, Linear 2012 X1 and Enke all feature this month in the northern skies. Siding Spring will have to wait till next year for its fanfare as it does a very close approach to Mars just after the MAVEN space mission arrives to sample Mars atmosphere. None the less - Comet 2013 A1 (Siding Spring) is again high in the southern skies after midnight. These images are stacked in groups of 6 for the movement of the Comet to get a nice tight coma for astrometry. All the iTelescope.net scopes haev been very busy chasing the morning comets so I thought tonight after I collected my 2013 TV135 data for MPC, I'd jump onto T31 at Siding Spring and chase it's namesake comet. ENJOY!!!!