Comet Catalina

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PMiskiw
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Comet Catalina

Post by PMiskiw » Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:24 pm

Ross,
Will comet Catalina be abled to be observed and pictured by you using the robotic telescope and then your home comet capture system.
Peter.

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rwilkinson
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Re: Comet Catalina

Post by rwilkinson » Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:40 pm

Yes Peter, and hopefully you'll be able to take your own pictures of it too!

It's approaching perihelion at the moment, and then should be visible in the second half of December and early January. It may just reach naked-eye visibility (from a dark site).

There will be more details in my comet update in our next newsletter.

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Re: Comet Catalina

Post by rwilkinson » Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:12 am

If by any chance the sky is clear tomorrow morning (Weds 9th), then this is where to look: low in the SE before dawn. It will be around 20 degrees above the horizon, and Venus aind Iota Virginis will help to star-hop to it:
catalina.png
Comet Catalina just before 7am on 9-Dec
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catalina2.png
Close-in view showing comet's position relative to Iota Virginis
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Here's a wide-field picture taken last week from Germany:
http://kometen.fg-vds.de/pix/2013US10/2 ... 112015.htm
And a lovely one from the previous week which shows the dust and ion-tails pointing in opposite directions:
http://kometen.fg-vds.de/pix/2013US10/2 ... 112015.htm

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rwilkinson
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Re: Comet Catalina

Post by rwilkinson » Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:32 am

I saw the comet quite clearly this morning, through my 15x70 binoculars.

Seeing that the sky was mostly clear, I went out just before 7am and with my binoculars fitted to a tripod and the help of my Nexus7 running SkySafariPlus as a "head-up display" I quickly star-hopped from Spica through Virgo to find it.

This morning it was higher in the sky than when I glimpsed it a fortnight ago, so it was much easier to see the coma, and I could even detect a vestige of the ion-tail (pointing away from the Sun).
It appeared to me to be slightly fainter than a couple of nearby 7th-magnitude stars:
catalina.png
Cartes du Ciel chart showing comet Catalina on 21-Dec.
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Then I had a quick look at Venus, Mars and Jupiter before packing away.

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rwilkinson
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Re: Comet Catalina

Post by rwilkinson » Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:46 am

This morning the clouds cleared shortly before dawn, so I managed to grab an image of the comet from my back garden:
c2014us10_23dec.png
Comet Catalina on 23-Dec. 26x 18-sec using Pentax K110D on 70ED operating at f/4.1.
c2014us10_23dec.png (488.63 KiB) Viewed 8346 times

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Re: Comet Catalina

Post by rwilkinson » Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:05 pm

There may be a clear spell around dawn tomorrow (Sunday 27th).
If so, this is where to look - around 45 degrees up in the South-South-East:
catalina.png
Comet Catalina at 7am on 27-Dec
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It's around 8 degrees South of the bright star Arcturus (Alpha Bootes).

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rwilkinson
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Re: Comet Catalina

Post by rwilkinson » Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:32 am

The comet is now tracking into Ursa Major, and last night was close to Alkaid.
So it's very low in the sky in the early evening, but rising to almost overhead just before dawn.

I managed to capture it in the early hours through my window, as it rose above the trees:
c2013us10_15jan.png
Comet Catalina from indoors on 15-Jan. 72x 1-min using HX916 on TS70ED at f/4.1, rescaled by 0.75x.
c2013us10_15jan.png (212.23 KiB) Viewed 8636 times
I had my little 70mm refractor on a Celestron LCM alt-az mount clamped to the windowsill, and then took out the field-rotation in the post-processing (hence the cut-off corner).

The broad dust-tail is curving downwards, and there's a trace of the narrow straight ion-tail around the two o-clock position.

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rwilkinson
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Re: Comet Catalina

Post by rwilkinson » Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:14 pm

The forecast is for clear skies tomorrow (Saturday) morning.
If anyone fancies a look, the comet will be almost overhead at 6:30am, and easy to locate from the stars in the handle of The Plough:
catalina_16jan.png
Comet Catalina at 6:30am on Sat 16-Jan. The circle shows the 4-degree field of 15 x 70 binoculars.
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Re: Comet Catalina

Post by rwilkinson » Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:44 am

It was a little hazy this morning (but very cold and frosty), however I did manage to image the comet before breakfast:
2013us10_16jan.png
Comet Catalina on the morning of 16-Jan. 25x 30-sec using Pentax K110D on TS70ED at f/4.3
2013us10_16jan.png (274.76 KiB) Viewed 8624 times
With the target directly overhead, I found my right-angle viewer invaluable for aiming the camera:
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=425

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Re: Comet Catalina

Post by rwilkinson » Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:31 am

Now that the comet has tracked into the Northern sky, it's visible in the evening (and then all through the night). So yesterday evening I got my clearest view yet, with it high up in a dark sky. It was easy to find quite close to Polaris, and I could easily see the coma with a 130P reflector, but ther was no sign of the tail(s).
With the patchy cloud, I only managed to capture a couple of images before the sky filled in - and then it started to rain!
c2013us10_2feb.png
Comet Catalina on 2-Feb. 2x 1-min with HX916 on TS70ED at f/4.3.
c2013us10_2feb.png (378.25 KiB) Viewed 8471 times

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