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 Post subject: Incoming! (Comet P/2016 BA14)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:11 am 
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On the 22nd of this month there will be the fourth-closest known approach of a comet to Earth (only beaten by events in 1999, 1770 and 1366!).
But comet P/2016 BA14 (PanSTARRS) is predicted to miss us by a comfortable 2.2 million miles, so there's no need to duck! ;)

However it's a very small object, and so will probably only reach 13th magnitude - see Seiichi Yoshida's web-page:
http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/2016BA14/2016BA14.html

And there's a nice 3D animation of its orbit on the JPL Small-Body Database:
http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=2016%20BA14;orb=1
(you'll need to enable Java-scripts to see this in your browser)

And by an extraordinary coincidence, the 7th-closest cometary approach (252P/LINEAR) will happen the previous day - but that won't be visble from the Northern hemisphere.


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 Post subject: Re: Incoming! (Comet P/2016 BA14)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:46 am 
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I'd set up a program on the 10" iTelescope T5 in New Mexico to take a tracked 5-minute image overnight, and there is a "static" object in this field, close to the comet's expected position:
Attachment:
File comment: P/2016 BA14 on 22-Mar. 5-min with 250mm f/3.4
p2016ba14_22mar.png
p2016ba14_22mar.png [ 436.82 KiB | Viewed 2421 times ]

It doesn't look much like an ethereal coma-shrouded comet does it? It's much more like a very hard asteroid - thank goodness it missed us (this time)!
And those star-trails over just five minutes show how quickly it was moving across our sky.

Incidentally, those little "bumps" in all the star-trails must be due to a little periodic error in their Paramount PME.


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 Post subject: Re: Incoming! (Comet 252P)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 7:11 pm 
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I mentioned that yesterday's close approach of comet 252P/LINEAR was only visible from the Southern hemisphere.
Well, I didn't manage to catch it then, but I have just got a picture of the comet from this evening (actually tomorrow morning, their time!), using iTelescope T13 in New South Wales:
Attachment:
File comment: Comet LINEAR on 22-Mar. 5x 1-min with 90mm f/4.5.
252p_22mar.png
252p_22mar.png [ 295.24 KiB | Viewed 2405 times ]
I was intending to do a single 5-min exposure tracking the comet, but there was a formatting error in my automatic script-file.
However since I was folllowing the system in real-time I was able to step in and request a series of 5x 1-min exposures instead.


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 Post subject: Re: Incoming! (Comet 252P)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:13 pm 
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The camera on iTelescope T13 is actually a one-shot colour type; so now that I've worked our how to decode its 3D-FITS format (using ImageJ), I've been able to make this full-colour animation of comet 252P/Linear tracking through the constellation Ara from yesterday's data:
Attachment:
File comment: 5-frame time-lapse animation of comet 252P from 22-Mar
252p_22mar.gif
252p_22mar.gif [ 1.08 MiB | Viewed 2397 times ]


Last edited by rwilkinson on Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Incoming! (Comet 252P)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:57 pm 
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rwilkinson wrote:
I was intending to do a single 5-min exposure tracking the comet
Well, I got it right at the second attempt:
Attachment:
File comment: Comet 252P/LINEAR on 23-Mar. Single 5-min tracked exposure using iTelescope T13 in New South Wales.
252p_23mar.png
252p_23mar.png [ 655.94 KiB | Viewed 2393 times ]


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