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Fragmentation of comet 2007 Q3 Siding Spring

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Fragmentation of comet 2007 Q3 Siding Spring

Posted by David Arditti at 17:48 on 2010 Mar 27

This comet was first observed to be splitting by French observers Manzini, Collas and Takbou on the night of March 13/14.I imaged it with a C-14 on March 23. My image shows the secondary condensation on the tail side of the nucleus. Images taken with large telescopes indicate that this secondary is also splitting, and measurements show that its distance from the nucleus is increasing, so the binary or multiple character is likely to become observable with smaller telescopes soon.My image is a stack of 20 x 30 second exposures aligned on the comet using Nebulosity. It has had a dark frame applied but no flat field. It is given 50% original size and has had a linear stretch applied in Photoshop, but no other processing.The vague smudge to the left of the comet is nothing to do with it, but real, as it corresponds to something, maybe a very faint galaxy, on the POSS II plate. Part of a much brighter galaxy, UGC 9837, just comes in to the extreme top left corner of the image.