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Observing Comet 46P


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Hi All,

Apologies if this is not the correct section.

I'm mainly an imager and use softwares to find my targets so please excuse my question.

I am due to meet up with some local group of people observing Comet 46P.

How can we locate the comet with GoTo mount without using any laptops or softwares? (It will be a Meade telescope mount)

Also we will have a 10" Dob at our disposal and i'm pretty bad with star hopping. 

So any advice would be muchly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

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Longer quick process video - mono  

Spotted 46/P for the first time last evening from 22.00 - 22.45 CET. NELM 5.0, slightly sub-average, but the comet, in meridian, was easily visible with 7x50 binos, east of Omicron and Xi Tauri as a l

Had a good session with 46P last night, despite freezing my extremities! It is definitely naked eye from Wiltshire, though a very faint fuzz blob that needs averted vision to spot and you have to know

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I am hoping to locate the Comet tonight with my 12" Dob. At 8pm tonight the location is RA 2hr 44' 06" and Dec is -15 degrees 09' 59". I will use my Interstellarum star atlas to view the surrounding area of stars and hopefully see the Comet + stars in my 80mm finderscope.

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Hi Ahmed, I had a try at it with 11X70 bin's the other night but failed to locate it, pretty low down in the murk somewhere around -20 degrees but hopefully it should start climbing up the sky soon.

You can enter coordinates manually.

I use phone apps to get location but one thing I have noticed on recent comets is sites like Stellarium and Sky Safari don't agree on the location.

Good luck

Dave 

 

Edited by Davey-T
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Cheers fellas.

So what's the trick to locating it apart from using the apps? (pardon my ignorance but doe the RA and DEC change from night after night on comets?)

People are counting on me for this lol

I'm not looking to observe this comet just yet but will be doing this on the 16th of December so wanted to be equipped with this knowledge.

 

Edited by souls33k3r
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1 hour ago, souls33k3r said:

Hi All,

Apologies if this is not the correct section.

I'm mainly an imager and use softwares to find my targets so please excuse my question.

I am due to meet up with some local group of people observing Comet 46P.

How can we locate the comet with GoTo mount without using any laptops or softwares? (It will be a Meade telescope mount)

Also we will have a 10" Dob at our disposal and i'm pretty bad with star hopping. 

So any advice would be muchly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

In my opion the best method is good old fashioned settling circles coupled with a sidereal clock.

John

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Should be easy to find on the 16th just left of the Pleiades.

Brightness estimates are a bit misleading and hard to predict so it may not be visible to the naked eye.

Scanning left from the Pleiades with a pair of binoculars should find it.

Best to get away from light pollution and Moon will be lurking not helping.

Dave

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9 minutes ago, andrew63 said:

This map from comet watch -  if you look just under the the Pleiades with a pair of 10x50s you should view it around that date.

 

andrew

46p4_neg.jpg

Awesome stuff Andrew! This is going to be a great help. Cheers for that.

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Because i haven't done this for a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry long time, i take it that every handset on a GoTo mount has the option to input the RA and DEC axis to locate objects manually? 

If there is, then is https://theskylive.com/46p-info the accurate source of information to get this from? Going by what @Davey-T mentioned that Stellarium and Sky Safari don't agree on the location.

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SkySafari was pretty accurate the other evening. My wife and I found it in 16x70 and 25x100 binoculars on Friday night. But it was towards the haze of the horizon as others have said. It's a pretty easy star hop from Tau 1 Eri or Azha... Good luck with finding it.

Edited by Stargazer McCabe
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3 minutes ago, souls33k3r said:

Because i haven't done this for a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry long time, i take it that every handset on a GoTo mount has the option to input the RA and DEC axis to locate objects manually? 

If there is, then is https://theskylive.com/46p-info the accurate source of information to get this from? Going by what @Davey-T mentioned that Stellarium and Sky Safari don't agree on the location.

Yes, that’s how I locate many things on my Synscan handset.  I am set up with the ED150 ready to try 46P tonight. I will use Sky Safari as it is normally very accurate. I believe it is a fast moving comet.

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1 minute ago, souls33k3r said:

Cheers fellas! this has helped me a great deal and given me the confidence :) 

NB. On Synscan it accepts RA decimal inputs for seconds so I do a quick mental calculation when taking RA coordinates from Sky Safari. Each 6” is 0.1. For a comet, an estimate will be close enough.

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Depending on your FOV, the smaller it is the more chance of it being out of view, imaging 21PGZ a couple of weeks ago it wasn't in the FOV using Stellarium coord's but it was using the location given by Sky Safari.

Try to figure out which way it's going and set it so it crosses the FOV.

Dave

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I am also still unsuccessful to input its orbital elements into my handset, BUT whenever I want to image a comet, I look up its current position in Skysafari and click on a nearby star. The SAO, HIP or whatever catalogue number you get, is probably in your handcontroller and should give you a fairly accurate GOTO result. 

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3 minutes ago, Owmuchonomy said:

NB. On Synscan it accepts RA decimal inputs for seconds so I do a quick mental calculation when taking RA coordinates from Sky Safari. Each 6” is 0.1. For a comet, an estimate will be close enough.

It's the Meade's GoTo system which i have no idea about.

The thing is i'll be joining this local group of observers in Pakistan on the 16th of December so knowing what to do or where to look for is going to be very critical.

4 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

Depending on your FOV, the smaller it is the more chance of it being out of view, imaging 21PGZ a couple of weeks ago it wasn't in the FOV using Stellarium coord's but it was using the location given by Sky Safari.

Try to figure out which way it's going and set it so it crosses the FOV.

Dave

The main GoTo scope is going to be a smallish so am hoping it will be in the FOV

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You can get the coords for the time you're planning to view and enter them in the Meade controller as a user object in advance then GoTo it at the appropriate time.

It's a bit fiddley entering things so best done in advance, I usually just put in initials for the comet and the cords, skip over magnitude and unneeded stuff.

It should be travelling more or less south to north so if it's not in the FOV you can nudge up and down.

Dave

 

 

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I spotted Wirtanen on Thursday evening with just 7 x 50 binoculars, though it's very large and diffuse. It wouldn't take a lot of murk to hide it.

To help find it I used the current position as shown at heavens-above.com (select Astronomy / Comets / 46P Wirtanen).

Due to showery weather, I didn't set up the 'scope to look or image. I regretted that later, though, because it actually stayed dry - and it's been cloudy here ever since, and for the next week at least! 

Good luck!

Regards, Mike.

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Hi all, I was able to find it in my 8 x 42 binoculars here in Derbyshire this evening. It was not easy with a fair bit of light pollution, but it was visible as a very faint misty patch just south of pi Ceti. I had a look through my 102mm telescope but it was no easier to see than with the binoculars, it being so diffuse. Let's hope things improve over the next few days as it moves north!

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Wow - my earlier pessimism seemed to reverse-jinx the weather ?. It cleared up, initially very briefly but then for much longer. 

I didn't need the charts this time, just a sweep of the area revealed Wirtanen easily in my 7 x 50 binoculars and then a 80mm Skywatcher refractor. I'm currently photographing it, though I'm not sure how long it will remain clear. The comet's location will disappear behind a neighbour's wall shortly, anyway.

Regards, Mike.

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