Comet 46p/Wirtanen

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Comet 46p/Wirtanen

Postby Graeme1858 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:12 pm

I was just checking out what to have a look at tonight and came across this:

http://www.cometwatch.co.uk/comet-46p-wirtanen/

It's a bit difficult to see at the moment being very low in the south and heading south. But at the beginning of November it turns to head north and on 16th December, at closest approach, it increases in magnitude to an estimated nice bright 3 when it will be nestled on the ecliptic between the Hyades and the Pleiades.

Definitely worth keeping an eye on.
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Re: Comet 46p/Wirtanen

Postby Aratus » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:22 pm

No good at the moment, as you say. It is bearly above the horizon, and very dim, but it will hang around the horizon until the beginning in December when it will climb very rapidly, and brighten. By the middle of that month it will be visible as it gets dark sailing through Taurus. I am sceptical that it will reach naked eye visibility, but it is being reported as being brighter than expected - at the moment. What it does later on is another matter. It should be a fine sight in binoculars anyway, into the New Year, and who know perhaps it will stay bright. . . :o
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Re: Comet 46p/Wirtanen

Postby Graeme1858 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:59 am

A bright star in the east at Christmas! The media is going to love it!
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Re: Comet 46p/Wirtanen

Postby Aratus » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:06 pm

The latest brightness figures now do indeed suggest a magnitude 3 or 4 object by the 3rd week of December. Perhaps even a sceptic like me might start to get excited! :shock:

I would say it was worth taking a look from 27th November. 10 degrees above the southern horizon at 2000 UT. The moon having not yet risen. Better on 28th Nov when 14 degrees above the horizon at 2145. It gets better from then on. When the comet is at its brightest, around 19th December, the moon will spoil it, but it should look great a few days earlier on the 16th, right next to the Pleiades, especially later on in the night after the moon has set.
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 46p/Wirtanen

Postby The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:00 pm

I'm hoping for a shot or few but hope for better weather than we had for Mars.
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Re: Comet 46p/Wirtanen

Postby Aratus » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:35 pm

The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof wrote:I'm hoping for a shot or few but hope for better weather than we had for Mars.

This comet has one advantage over Mars, and that is that the altitude will reach satisfactory levels - given a bit of time. The weather could still scupper it though. One interest aspect of this comet is that as it goes away from the sun we will see the comet and tail from behind. So if we want to get an image of a long tail, it is best done in the first couple of weeks of December. After that we will looking down its 'exhaust pipe'. :o That could give some interesting images! :geek:
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 46p/Wirtanen

Postby Aratus » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:29 pm

Just a reminder that Comet Wirtanen is going to be due south at 10pm - the moon not yet risen - on Friday 30th November. It will be a healthy 17 degrees above the horizon, and 5th magnitude. It will be worth looking SE as it gets dark although it will be lower down. Binoculars, at least will be required to see it. The smallest telescope will show it. It will get higher as each days goes on throughout December, getting brighter until mid month. :D
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 46p/Wirtanen

Postby Gfamily2 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:58 am

Aratus wrote:Just a reminder that Comet Wirtanen is going to be due south at 10pm - the moon not yet risen - on Friday 30th November. It will be a healthy 17 degrees above the horizon, and 5th magnitude. It will be worth looking SE as it gets dark although it will be lower down. Binoculars, at least will be required to see it. The smallest telescope will show it. It will get higher as each days goes on throughout December, getting brighter until mid month. :D

Oh, that's very timely - our November Club meeting is on Friday, so it'll be good to let people know.
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Re: Comet 46p/Wirtanen

Postby Aratus » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:58 pm

That would be great if your club saw the comet.

To give a range of dates . . .

It is also worth trying tonight (Wednesday) from 8pm until about 9:30pm after which the moon rises. Wirtanen will be 10 to 13 degrees above the southern horizon. That is better than Mars was in the summer.

On Thursday we have moonless skies until 11pm, and the comet will be around 15 degrees high.

Friday is good because the comet reaches 17 degrees, and the moon won't spoilt things until after midnight, when the comet will be getting lower anyway.

Saturday and Sunday are much the same as Friday, with the moon well out of the way, and comet getting up to 20 degrees above the horizon.

After that Wirtanen will get higher by around 2 degrees or more every day.

From the 20th December the comet will be in the sky all night, (circumpolar) and by then it will be more or less overhead.

The weather is a bit changeable, but there is a good chance that most people will get a bit of clear sky at sometime in the next week. If possible scan the area with binoculars. Look for a greenish fuzzy object. It should be easier then to turn a telescope on it.
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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