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C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS)

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nickjames's picture
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C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS)

Newly discovered C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) is currently around 16AU from the Sun and mag 19 or so. This is an image of it taken from Chelmsford a few minutes ago. The current orbit shows it coming to perihelion in 2023! I will speculate wildly about possible prospects for this comet in tomorrow's Sky Notes during the meeting at Burlington House.

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nickjames's picture
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After yesterday's meeting at

After yesterday's meeting at Burlington House Peter Carson has obtained some more astrometry of this object. I've added that to the collection and the output from findorb is attached. As I said at the meeting yesterday the period and perihelion date are very poorly constrained at the moment and the residuals aren't much different if you force the orbit to be parabolic. Astrometry over the next couple of weeks should start to resolve that so we should at least have a good idea of the orbit. It will be a few years before we can even guess how bright it is likely to be when it comes to perihelion in 2023.

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Peter Carson's picture
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Image of C/2017K2

Nick mentioned in the previous post that I got some astrometry of C/2017K2 after I arrived home from yesterday's meeting at Burlington House. I've attached the image I took of the comet in the hope that in 2023 you can all laugh at it whilst gazing in awe at the bright naked eye comet hanging in the sky that C/2017K2 will turn into....maybe!!

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The orbit is still very

The orbit is still very uncertain but all the astrometry to date (a 25 day arc) implies that it is near parabolic with a perihelion at 1.8au at the end of 2022 or early 2023. This is much less interesting than if it had been in a shorter period orbit since it probably means the that the comet is dynamically new. Such comets tend to have significant activity far from the Sun but then the underperform as they move into the inner Solar System. Still, it is worth observing this comet if you have the equipment. It is very well placed and you don't often get the chance to image comets which are 16au away.

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I managed some images on

I managed some images on Wednesday 14th.  imaged with passing high, thin cirrus type cloud.

C14 Edge F:7.7  Mounted on a Paramount ME, autoguided 10x 180sec unfiltered exposures stacked by addition with Astrometrica.  QSI 532 ME camera binned 2x2  =  1..02  "/pix

Eric

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Near prediction

An image of C/2017 k2 at mag 18.9 and 15.9AU from the Sun. As seen through thin cloud (was supposed to be clear but clouded while I was setting up - not exactly uncommon round here) with a 10" RC and Trius 694 camera.

I additive stacked 120s exposures tracked at star rate only. The variable transparency would have played hell with a median stack.

The position is close to the prediction in RA but - if Astrometry.net is right - not quite right in Dec. My SNR was too poor for a clearer assessment.

The frames need to be aligned on the comets motion for a better result.