Comet 46P/Wirtanen

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rwilkinson
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Re: Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Post by rwilkinson » Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:27 am

Thankfully the clouds did clear last night - although there must still have been some haze, as I could only just make out The Pleiades with the unaided eye!
With such poor contrast I struggled to see the comet with my Helios 15x70 binoculars: I could only just make it out using averted vision. I also tried my EEV image-intensifier, fitted with a 200mm lens, but didn't do any better with that.
Finally I tried my Bushnell DNV (Digital Night-Vision) 6x50 monocular, and was pleasantly surpised: I could see the comet much better through that. And I used its video-capture facility to record a few 30-sec .AVI files for processing:
46p_12dec_dnv.png
Comet Wirtanen on 12-Dec with the DNV camera. 4x 30-sec video captures, processed in IRIS
46p_12dec_dnv.png (69.62 KiB) Viewed 3270 times
The bright stars in the top-right are Ksi & Omicron Tauri, which are 3rd magnitude, and the star very close to the comet is the 9th-magnitude Hipparcos 16342.
Meanwhile, I was using my Atik 16IC camera for some more conventional imaging:
46p_12dec.png
Comet Wirtanen on 12-Dec. 50x 60-sec with Atik 16IC on Starwave 80ED at f/4.7
46p_12dec.png (220.29 KiB) Viewed 3270 times
although seeing how large and diffuse and fast-moving the comet was, I should have used a wider field of view.

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Re: Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Post by rwilkinson » Sat Dec 15, 2018 8:17 am

I got another picture last night: despite the moonlight, haze and patchy cloud (hence the gaps in the star-trails).
46p_14dec.png
Comet Wirtanen on 14-Dec. 36x 90-sec with Hx916 on Starwave 80ED at f/4.6
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Re: Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Post by rwilkinson » Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:29 pm

Finally got some more clear sky last night - before the moonlight got too bright!
The comet is now in Auriga, close to Capella, but I couldn't see it with my 15x70 binoculars.
But thanks to the loan of Keith's Atik Infinity camera, I got a colour picture with a wider field than I could manage with my 16IC.
46p_24dec.png
Comet Wirtanen on 24-Dec. 65x 90-sec with Atik Infinity on 80ED f/4.7
46p_24dec.png (574.49 KiB) Viewed 3091 times

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Re: Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Post by rwilkinson » Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:52 am

Well after the disappointing weather at the end of last year, we didn't have to wait long into 2019 for a clear night.
But the comet has faded significantly from its peak a fortnight ago.
46p_1jan.png
Comet Wirtanen on 1-Jan. 57x 60-sec with 80ED at f/7
46p_1jan.png (488.91 KiB) Viewed 3123 times

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Re: Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Post by rwilkinson » Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:13 pm

This comet has declined from 3rd down to 11th magnitude in the last couple of months, but it's high in the sky in Ursa Major at the moment, so I could easily detect it with my faithful old Mx716 camera.
46p_7mar.jpg
Comet Wirtanen on 7-Mar. 30x 90-sec from Mx716 on C8 at f/3.3
46p_7mar.jpg (88.77 KiB) Viewed 2205 times
I also had a look for 123P/West-Hartley , which I'd expected to be fainter (12th or 13th magnitude), although it actually appeared brighter on my CCD - probably as it's less diffuse:
123p_7mar.jpg
Comet 123P on 7-Mar. 24x 90-sec from Mx716 on C8 at f/3.3
123p_7mar.jpg (80.3 KiB) Viewed 2205 times

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