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Anyone planning to image comet 252p/linear this week? Comet 252p/linear will pass close to Earth beginning this weekend (closest distance on Monday). It is passing close to the Large Magellanic Cloud and I understand that it will only be visible from the Southern hemisphere until the end of the month when it will begin to be visible from the north as well. Is anyone planning on trying to capture images as it gets close? For me, here in the Blue Mountains above Sydney, the forecast is not good; cloudy every night except Friday 18th ( 3 days before closest approach ). I’m going to try to see if I can capture anything useable on Friday. Does anyone have any advice about settings to use? From my estimates/calculations, during Friday night, the comet will be travelling with an apparent angular velocity of about 0.3” / sec. With my setup that’s equivalent to about 1 pixel every 2.5 seconds. So if I track on a star I will need to use a ‘very short’ exposure if I’m going to freeze the comet’s motion ( I’m thinking of trying ISO 3200 @ 2s and increasing this until the blur is too noticeable ). I suppose I could try and track on the comet itself but I’m not sure that it will be bright enough; I have come across various predictions in the mag 5 to mag 7 range and again I would need a fairly short integration time in PHD if I want to freeze the motion of the ‘guide star’. Of course, this won’t help with the background stars so I would still need a short exposure if I’m going to freeze both the comet and the stars. Any ideas, thoughts? Sorry for the rambling post, it reflects a fairly fuzzy post lunch mind
Comet 252P/LINEAR passing through the constellation Mensa and approaching Earth on the 18th March 2016 by Mike O'Day ( 500px.com/MikeODay ). Comet 252P/LINEAR is a near-Earth comet that was discovered by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project in April of 2000. 252P has an orbital period of 5.3 years and passes close to the orbit of the Earth. In 2016 it passed 'very close' to Earth (in astronomical terms) on the 21st of March 2016, when, at its nearest, it was only 14 times the distance to the moon (~5.3 million kms). This image was taken three days before comet 252P/LINEAR made its closest approach when it was at a distance of about 5.9 million kms ( position as at ~16:22 Fri 18 Mar 2016 UTC as seen from the Blue Mountains above Sydney Australia ) Links: https://500px.com/MikeODay http://photo.net/photos/MikeODay Details: RA 06h 40m 38s, Dec -80 deg 18' 37" (Epoch 2016.2) Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount Guiding: Orion Shortube 80 guidescope, Starshoot Autoguider, PHD2, (guiding on star) Baader MPCC Mark 3 Coma Corrector Hutech IDAS D1 light pollution filter Nikon D5300 (unmodified) Field of view (min) ~ 74 x 49 Stack of 185 x 7sec images @ ISO6400 Pixinsight (incl. Comet Alignment tool) Comet moved ~ 475 pixels East and 1470 pixels South during the time the images where captured. In the image Up is North and Left is East.