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C/2009 P1 Comet Garradd


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I went looking for this comet near the coathanger last night. With a 5" Mak in London I can't say I could make much out visually - not aided by banks of high level thin cloud intermittently obscuring everything. I achieved more success attaching my DSLR at prime focus, and while the shots won't win awards for prettiness they do show the comet (all frames 15s exposure, ISO1600, the trails and splodges are due to my rather bouncy mount)

Top Left: Near the hook of the Coathanger at 22:58BST

Top Right: Near the hook of the Coathanger at 23:56BST

Bottom Left: the 22:58 with a triangle joining the two brighter stars and the comet.

Bottom Right: the 23:56 image with the same triangle, transformed (translated, rotated using Photoshop's 'free transform' tool) so that the green line joins the brighter stars. The vertex where the yellow and red lines join marks where the comet would be if it had not moved in the hour between exposures. The white line indicates how far the comet moved.

By my calculation, the two stars are separated by about 0.25 degrees (sound reasonable?). By measuring the lengths of the white line and green line (in pixels) this means that the comet moved about 0.03 degrees in an hour.

Hopefully I'll manage to track the comet down visually, but I was pretty happy to be able to measure its movement photographically.

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Righto back out tonight and I got it within 5 minutes. I have no idea what happened the other night but tonight was a dream, straight to the coathanger from sagitta and presto there she was in all her faint(very faint) fuzzy glory. Those pics above are slightly better than what I could see but there is no doubting it. This is the first comet I have seen through my scope. :)

Edited by Pibbles
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In case, like me, you favour using Stellarium and wish to add the comet to this software, please follow these instructions...

Locate the file "ssystem.ini" which is stored in the Stellarium 'data' folder. (Assuming C:\ is the system drive...)

C:\Program Files\Stellarium\data\

or

C:\Program Files (x86)\Stellarium\data\

As the administrator (you may need to esculate user privilege) create a copy of the ssytem.ini file and store it as a backup in case things go wrong.

Open the ssytem.ini file for editing in a text editor such as Notepad or Wordpad. (Again you will need to do this as administrator)

insert the following text, probably best at the end of the file, although some report it best before the last entry (so as not to lose the final LF/CR character):



[Garradd]
name = C/2009 P1 (Garradd)
parent = Sun
radius = 80
oblateness = 0.0
halo = true
color = 1.0,1.0,1.0
tex_halo = star16x16.png
tex_map = nomap.png
coord_func = comet_orbit
orbit_TimeAtPericenter = 2455919.1863
orbit_PericenterDistance = 1.550778
orbit_Eccentricity = 1.000901
orbit_ArgOfPericenter = 90.7398
orbit_AscendingNode = 325.9957
orbit_Inclination = 106.1893
lighting = false
albedo = 1
orbit_visualization_period = 365.25

Save the file, open Stellarium and search for C/2009

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Been observing it every few nights since late August - initially I could just make out a wispy tail (looked almost double or the legs of a wide V) but I haven't been able to pull that out for over a week. I'll blame it on the moon. Took the family camping at Lake Shasta in Northern CA, USA. Bortle 3...but the moon was prominent during my 'available' viewing windows...so while I found Garradd pretty easily around the Coat Hanger...it only gained a "ok, I think I see it" from the family...nothing exciting in their eyes. Oh well.

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Got lucky and the clouds from Hurricane Irene held off to get a few images. Can't believe my good fortune!

Bill

Garradd approaching the Coathanger on 9/1/11 @ 2214hrs EDT.

Orion Short Tube 80 afocal through 30mmEP. Sony Cybershot, 30 second single frame enlargement. ISO 400.

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Garrad at the Coathanger Hook. 9/2/2011. 2335hrs EDT. Same camera and settings but with Orion 152mm Astrograph.

dsc00071ww.jpg

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Congrats to all who have found the comet, especially if its your first comet!! Very exciting. :)

We had a public night here during the week, and I had advertised on the radio re the comet, but, alas, people wanted to see a bright object with a tail. :)

The Moon was quite bright, so all I could show them was a faint blob, best seen with averted vision. Oh well, least they saw a comet too. :(

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I’ve just seen my first comet :)

I like to think I saw the tail but I don’t think so.

I think I did quite well seeing it with a full moon up, and 30 mins before astronomical twilight ended :(. I could even see it through my bins on a makeshift tripod (two chairs piled on top of each other).

Anyway, exiting stuff. I look forward to seeing it move against the star field.

Edited by Ursa Major
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Just checked out your pics again Bill, and taken with a Sony Cybershot, WOWOW!! They are great. Obviously you have an attachment to attach against the EP??

CHecked out Comet Garradd again tonight under fairly dark skies at my place, and it was looking great!!

A fairly bright and large, condensed blob, with some elongation towards the ... NE (SW in EP).

Tried for Comet Swan, but no luck. :)

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Yes Liz, I have an Astronomics setup that allows me to attach a 40mm EP to the front of the Sony (or any 58mm filter size camera).

Then I just drop it in the star diagonal like any other eyepiece.

I suppose I could have made something myself, but knowing me, it wouldn't fit as good as something "store bought.:o"

Here's a pic of Swan for you taken through fast moving clouds. The orange, of course is High Pressure Sodium light pollution.

I have some actually good images of Swan (an older Swan by the way, not the recent) but can't find them at the moment. I just

wanted to reward you for your kind feedback - Thank you.

By the way, this is 25x magnification, 1.5 degree field width. 25 seconds.

Bill

swanthroughclouds2630bv1.jpg

Edited by wcgucfa
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Hi Liz,

This old Swan, taken a few years back, can't remember which year without researching, could easily be seen without optical aid under clear skies.

The current Swan isn't well placed for me and may be difficult to see at all. You've got me wanting to look up the old Swan.:glasses2: I've got some clear images of it. I also remember it being -7 degrees F. at the time!

If you've got a good tracking drive you too can image with non-astro

cameras through your telescope!

Bill

Edited by wcgucfa
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I caught Garrad with its pants down last night just between Aquila and Ophiuchus. Even with 4,5" aperture scope, the tail was very distinct and nicely visible, as was the core of the comet. Way better when observing it passing M71 a while back. I am not sure about the current magnitude charts but I would definitely say that it had brightened up since then!

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I caught Garrad with its pants down last night just between Aquila and Ophiuchus. Even with 4,5" aperture scope, the tail was very distinct and nicely visible, as was the core of the comet. Way better when observing it passing M71 a while back. I am not sure about the current magnitude charts but I would definitely say that it had brightened up since then!

Sounds good. Where did you get your position info from?

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