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MikeODay

comet 252p/linear close pass this weekend - anyone planning to image?

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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 :)

Edited by mike005

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Hi Mike, I'm on the other side of the island (WA) and I have found Ian Musgrave's blog very useful http://astroblogger.blogspot.com.au/

If you hadn't of mentioned this I wouldn't have known, cheers. It should be interesting to see it but I think my house is in the way, fingers crossed here.

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Hey Dave, thanks for the link and I wish you clear skies on Monday night; forecast here is for clouds :(

I managed to capture a series of images of the comet on Saturday morning but I have not yet had a chance to process them yet.

Cheers

Mike

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Look forward to seeing them Mike.

Will be looking for it tonight and tomorrow night, just to get a visual on it with the bino's and if successful, will do some visual with one of my C8's. Will decide from there if I think I can capture it somehow with my basic gear but I highly doubt it. Just to see it would be nice.

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I look forward to seeing your images.

I'm still struggling with Pixinsight to get it to do what a want... ( see http://pixinsight.com/forum/index.php?topic=3980.msg61766#msg61766 for my problem )

Anyway, here is a work in progress image (100% crop of comet stack) from the stack I took on Friday night (18th March)

 

integration comet sigma 3 1.5.png

 

from image ...

56efb3188e601_integrationcometsigma31.5.

If I squint just right I think I can just about make out a small tail - of course I could be imagining it :)

 

 

 

Edited by mike005
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Nice capture Mike, you got it!

I had a look last weekend with some breaks in the cloud with my bino's and found 2 possible's. Both were very small circular fuzzy spots but neither had a definite brighter center. I'd like to think I saw it :icon_biggrin:  I've never had much luck with comets.

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Hey at least you can say you saw it.

Below is my final processed version.  All the best, Mike.

Near Earth encounter with Comet 252P/LINEAR March 2016 - by Mike O'Day ( https://500px.com/MikeODay )

Details here:

 

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