Comet Wirtanen

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Re: Comet Wirtanen

Postby Aratus » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:33 pm

I've had time to look at the wide field images taken with the 80mm refractor last night. In many ways this smaller telescope is a better instrument for taking photos of this comet. This is 12 x 30sec exposures with the ZWO 1600. I've drawn a circle to represent the size of the moon to give an idea of the scale.

EDIT - 9th Dec. I realised that I was just processing a lot of haze rather than a coma. Also that vivid green colour was probably coming from light pollution, rather than from the comet When I removed the colour cast, it largely disappeared. So this is a re-processed image.

Image

Taking images through a 80mm refractor for 30 seconds is a lot easier than 120 seconds through the 11" SCT. No guiding is required, just a driven mount. I think simply taking a 20 or 30 second exposure with an ordinary DSLR on a tripod and a 135 or 200mm lens would give a fair result too.
Last edited by Aratus on Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
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Re: Comet Wirtanen

Postby Aratus » Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:33 pm

9th December 2019

It was freezing out there - and a bit haze too. Not good conditions for taking pictures of comets, expecially not one like this which still has a poor contrast with the sky. I just used the 80mm and ZWO1600. This is 12 x 30sec, and the same kind of processing as the previous image.

Image

I couldn't find it at all through binoculars. :(
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
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Re: Comet Wirtanen

Postby Aratus » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:04 am

12th November 2018

Wirtanen is very near to Xi and Omicron Tauri, which are 2 distinctive stars found by following an invisible line from the tip of Taurus' nose about the same length as his head. The comet, now high in the sky, was easily seen through binoculars as a circular greenish cloud about 30 mins of arc across. That is somewhat less than the size of the moon. Despite trying very hard, I couldn't see the comet with my naked eye at all

Within a few minutes it clouded over, and that was that.
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
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Re: Comet Wirtanen

Postby Graeme1858 » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:18 am

Found it! With my 10x50s it's right on the edge of visibility with averted vision. No sign of a core at all, just a faint patch.
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Re: Comet Wirtanen

Postby Aratus » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:44 pm

Congratulations! It is a feature of this comet, that the 'nucleus', although brighter than the coma, is not noticeble in binoculars. Yet even a small telescope will reveal it. Responses to friends whom I have invited to see it through binoculars is 'wow!' but 'Is that really a comet?' 'Where is the tail?'

I'd like to put my inability to see the comet with my unadied eye down to the nearby stables which have recently decided to use a badly orientated floodlight in the early evening! :evil: but my low light senstitivity is probably not what it was. :(

It would be nice to see it on Sunday when it is near the bright Pleiades star cluster, but we will have to see what happens.
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
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Re: Comet Wirtanen

Postby The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:52 pm

Aratus wrote:Congratulations! It is a feature of this comet, that the 'nucleus', although brighter than the coma, is not noticeble in binoculars. Yet even a small telescope will reveal it. Responses to friends whom I have invited to see it through binoculars is 'wow!' but 'Is that really a comet?' 'Where is the tail?'

I'd like to put my inability to see the comet with my unadied eye down to the nearby stables which have recently decided to use a badly orientated floodlight in the early evening! :evil: but my low light senstitivity is probably not what it was. :(

It would be nice to see it on Sunday when it is near the bright Pleiades star cluster, but we will have to see what happens.


I got it at 70mm with my DSLR:

4 frames stacked using Microsoft ICE (DSS did not work with the frames).

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Re: Comet Wirtanen

Postby Aratus » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:30 am

Some people have all the luck ! :roll: Congratulations :D
I assume you got that this evening (Monday) The cloud was of variable thicknesses for me this evening, but it never actually cleared.

Wirtanen sails past the bright star 'Capella' on 23rd December - about 1 degree. The comet will stay roughly the same same brightness until Christmas before slowly fading away. However, the moon will be nearby, and bright. :(
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
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Re: Comet Wirtanen

Postby Gfamily2 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:24 am

Managed to image it on Sunday, but we couldn't pick it up in binoculars. The Pleiades were relatively low and the Moon quite high.
FB_IMG_1545026884645.jpg
FB_IMG_1545026884645.jpg (22.88 KiB) Viewed 643 times

May not be quite the view you're expecting
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
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Re: Comet Wirtanen

Postby Aratus » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:06 pm

You must have done it standing on your head! :D

or through a telescope.

With the moon out full, and the all these clouds around, it might be a while before we see Wirtanen again.
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
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Re: Comet Wirtanen

Postby Gfamily2 » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:38 am

Aratus wrote:You must have done it standing on your head! :D

or through a telescope.


or from about 38 degrees South (so option #1 really)
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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