Comet 2P/Encke - back by popular demand

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rwilkinson
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Comet 2P/Encke - back by popular demand

#1 Post by rwilkinson » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:31 pm

This comet was discovered by Messier’s collaborator Pierre Méchain back in 1786, and was only the second comet to have its periodic orbit confirmed (after 1P/Halley). Its orbital period is 3.3 years, but I’ve only detected it once before, back in 2003 (through an open window, from central Bristol!).

It's in Pisces at the moment, so I've spent the first two evenings of this year trying to image it before it "set" behind the roof. On New Year's Day I tried with my 80mm, but it was just too faint to detect against the background.
So last night I got out my "big gun", fitting my C8 with Orion LPR filter, and it was just dicernible:
2p_2jan.PNG
Comet Encke on 2-Jan. 18x 90-sec with MX716 on C8 at f/3.3
2p_2jan.PNG (251.99 KiB) Viewed 3414 times
It should be getting brighter over the next few weeks, as it approaches perihelion in March.

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Re: Comet 2P/Encke - back by popular demand

#2 Post by rwilkinson » Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:38 pm

It's been almost three weeks since I've been able to image this comet, and in that period it has got significantly brighter.
It's now around 11th magnitude: just bright enough to show up on a 90-sec CCD image.
I managed to get 25 images before it disappeared behind a neighbour's roof:
2p_20jan.PNG
Comet Encke on 20-Jan. 25x 90-sec with MX716 on C8 at f/3.3
2p_20jan.PNG (228.46 KiB) Viewed 3604 times

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Re: Comet 2P/Encke - back by popular demand

#3 Post by rwilkinson » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:14 pm

After a run of poor weather in New Mexico, I managed to get this picture back from iTelescope T3 this morning:
2p_25jan.png
Comet Encke on 25-Jan. 4x 150-sec with 150mm refractor at f/7.3
2p_25jan.png (694.74 KiB) Viewed 3560 times

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