18 December 2016 at 7:23 pm #573659Denis BuczynskiParticipant
The Comet Section is now receiving reports and images of this famous comet.We encourage observers to follow this object and report thier observations to the Comet Section
A description of its prospects written by Martin Mobberley is as follows:
The year 2017 could start quite favorably for comet observers if comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova lives up to expectations. This regular visitor is heading north and will just have passed perihelion as January begins. It will be painfully low (but a bright magnitude 6) and immersed in the evening UK twilight early in January, but finally rises to a respectable altitude in the morning sky by early February, moving rapidly north and west through Aquila, the north-eastern corner of Ophiuchus, Hercules, Corona Borealis, Boötes, Canes Venatici, Coma Berenices and finally entering Leo, all in the month of February. The magnitude will drop from around 7 to 11 during the month. The reason for the rapid movement of 45P, is the proximity of the comet to the Earth. It is closest, at a mere 0.08426 AU, on Feb 11.26, while in Hercules. The comet will be moving at 22 arc-seconds per minute at that time. 45P comes close to the Earth quite regularly and made 11 close approaches to the Earth in the 20th century alone. The reason for this is its short orbital period of precisely five and a quarter years, as well as its small orbital inclination of just over four degrees. Unfortunately the Moon will be Full on February 11, the day of closest approach.
A recent image from Gerald Rhemann observing in the pristine skies of Namibia shows the comet is well developed and is showing significant tail and coma features.
Denis Buczynski Secretary BAA Comet Section
Object: Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova Date: 17 12 2016 UT 18h50m Location: Farm Tivoli, Namibia/SW-Africa Telescope: ASA Astrograph 12″f3.6 Camera: FLI ML 16200 Mount: ASA DDM85 Exposure time: LRGB 12/3/3/3 min. Copyright Gerald Rhemann
Attachments:18 December 2016 at 10:55 pm #577756
Martin’s description of the prospects for this comet is here. It will certainly be a challenge to observe it from the UK in early January but it will be a popular target for remote scopes.23 December 2016 at 7:10 am #577769
Gerald Rhemann’s latest image of this comet is here. This was taken from the very dark skies of Farm Tivoli, Namibia with the comet around 13 degress above the western horizon, just before astronomical twilight ended. I haven’t seen any images or visual reports from the UK yet but the comet is a very difficult target in the twilight. From southern England at 17:15 UT tonight the Sun is 12 degrees below the horizon and the comet is only 8 deg up, to the right of Venus and about half the altitude. If you have a clear western horizon it’s worth trying some DSLR shots to see if you can pick this comet up at around 8th magnitude.28 December 2016 at 8:57 pm #577773
It may not match the wonderful images taken from further south but 45P is definitely available from the UK if you have a decent horizon. Here is my image taken from Middle Hope, Somerset, tonight. It was a glorious clear sunset so I climbed to the top of this headland in the Bristol Channel and set up my Canon 550D and Star Adventurer mount. The sky finally got dark enough around 1800 UT when the comet was around 5 deg above a sea horizon. If you use your imagination the comet has a tail of rather more than half a degree in the image.28 December 2016 at 11:09 pm #577774Tony AngelParticipant
Just a 10 x 60 secs with the 4″ F4 and an ST8. Seeing was good.
Observers: Tony Angel & Caisey Harlingten29 December 2016 at 10:20 am #577775
Excellent images Tony. This is turning out to be a really nice comet.29 December 2016 at 12:14 pm #577776Peter CarsonParticipant
A well grabbed image Nick, from a site with somewhat better horizons than my back garden!
I’ve attempted to image 45P from my garden observatory near Southend a couple of times over the last few evenings but there are just too many obstructions. Give it a week or two for it to rise higher and I might get my first picture.4 January 2017 at 4:02 pm #577783Steve KnightParticipant
Embarassed to post this very inferior image but I was pleased to capture it with only a 1 second exposure through a 70mm f6 refractor.
No tracking available hence the short exposure.
Observed from a windy hilltop on Jan 2nd. Camera was a 6D. Image has been cropped, Theta Capricorni is at top.4 January 2017 at 11:13 pm #577786
Steve – at least that shows that it is possible to get this comet even with very simple equipment. I’ve reprocessed my tracked image of Dec 28 using some more subframes and decent flats and attach it here. This comet is certainly living up to expectations. Although it is still difficult from the UK it is worth searching out. From London tomorrow (Jan 5) it is around 7.5 deg above the SW horizon at around 1730 when the sun is 12 deg down.
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