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Viewing Comet


CaptPaul
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Hi,

I found this small article whilst browsing the net:

Encounters with Comet Hartley 2

An icy visitor is positioning itself for easier viewing in the coming weeks. Periodic Comet 103P/Hartley 2 won’t have the pizzazz of Comet Hale-Bopp or the unexpected spectacle of Comet Holmes. But it will be high in the evening sky when at its best, glowing at perhaps 5th magnitude.

Does anyone know when it will be visable time wise or will it follow cassopia as it will be passing through here?

The article was posted on 10th september 2010 so it is a recent post.

Thanks.

Paul

Edited by CaptPaul
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Thanks for the info!

I think ill have to wait for it to be closer, i only have 5" scope :D

Its prob changing the subject slightly but it will come in handy when trying to spot the comet but last night i ventured into the garden for a hour or 2 with my friend hes never looked down a scope before so showed him jupiter however once i started going close in using barlow i just couldnt get it into focus ive done this before and had better results could it be down to just bad viewing conditions or something im doin wrong? it was fairly early in the night about 9 o clock, bringing it back to the comet would i need to be so magnified when viewing it? never viewed a comet before quite excited!

Thanks everyone!

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I tried to bag this last night as my first comet. Started with the binos and then the scope. Failed miserably on both counts.

According to a chart I printed out it should be in lacerta right now. Is this correct? To be honest I failed even to properly identify lacerta, having never tried before! Anyone else had this problem?

Ah just noticed that its in Andromeda right now! So I was looking in the wrong place haha

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CaptPaul, the barlow will cut down the amount of light that makes it through to your eye. I wouldn't have thought you'd need a barlow to see it, once it gets a bit brighter it should be quite obvious in your scope, even binoculars. Perhaps even naked eye from nice dark skies.

Steve, it is in Andromeda, but only just. Near the boundary with Lacerta. It should be easier to find when it is brighter and also when it is closer to Cassiopeia. At the moment it isn't near anything strikingly obvious. Omnicron Andromeda is perhaps the best signpost right now.

Let us know if you find it :D

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I saw it last night (Sunday) with the 16" under various magnifications and TBH it wasn't too impressive. I was anticipating something a bit above normal, considering the attention it's getting online. But it looked quite common, really... like a weakly defined elliptical galaxy. If possible i'll try the 11x70s tonight.

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Beginners to comet hunting need to be aware that the magnitude given for comets is based on a defocused star of the given magnitude so the actual surface brightness will be very much fainter. It would be much more helpful IMO if comet visual brightness could be given as a comparison to Messier objects for instance to give a better impression of what to expect.

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Liz, i viewed it at 8:50pm when it was about 50 degrees from the horizon, but the Sun was only 16 degrees below the horizon. Might your 10" do a comparable job if you view the comet when it's at max altitude? You'd have to wait till there's no lunar interference, but it might be worth a try. :D

Peter, my Sky Tools 3 program shows the comet as having a 'mean extincted magnitude' of 10.4, and a surface brightness (mag/arcsec²) of 19.8. TBH though, i've had an easier time viewing targets with a dimmer surface brightness. Methinks comets are a whole different animal than DSOs. :eek:

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Not seen it yet just put this data into Stellarium to help me find it:

[Hartley]

name = 103P/Hartley

parent = Sun

radius = 24

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 = 2455497.76736

orbit_PericenterDistance = 1.05686

orbit_Eccentricity = 0.695121

orbit_ArgOfPericenter = 181.2027

orbit_AscendingNode = 219.7602

orbit_Inclination = 13.6184

lighting = false

albedo = 0.5

sidereal_period = 365.25

Taken from here:

Astroblog: Comet 103P/Hartley, a Comet with a Bright Future

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  • 2 weeks later...

I tried for this comet last night with my old 11x80 binoculars. No joy, despite pinpointing its exact location on Heavens Above. M31 was big and bright but no trace of the comet through the London light pollution.

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