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Comet 252P/LINEAR passing through the constellation Mensa and approaching Earth on the 18th March 2016 by Mike O'Day ( 500px.com/MikeODay ).

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





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.


Edited by mike005
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11 minutes ago, Mr Spock said:

Lovely image.

It got a bit close didn't it... We're still here... :)


Yes, much closer and I would have struggled to capture anything but streaks in my subs. 

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On 1 April 2016 at 04:54, Paul73 said:

Great work Mike! How far did the comet travel in those 52mins (ie, 2 Mins : 22 Secs)?


Sorry Paul, it has taken me a while to go back and take some measurements from the images.

Travel time:   3225 seconds

Distance (pixels):   1250  { or -388x 1188y }

Image resolution:   0.798 arcsec / pixel

Angular travel:  997 arcsec  { or 16 min : 37 arcsec)

Angular speed:  0.318  deg/hour

And at that speed it was pretty much at the limit of what I could capture at ISO 6400 without the comet moving in each significantly in each frame.



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