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Comet 46P/Wirtanen

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#1 druhela

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 11:15 AM

I just got notifications on my phone about articles covering Comet 46P/Wirtanen, and it's portrayed like a major celestial event.

I'm not really into comets all that much, so please pardon me if I'm caught napping. Is it that big of an event? Any tips on when and how to observe this with my scope?
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#2 Exnihilo

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 11:38 AM

Well, I'd hardly call it a major celestial event. Its a fairly bright comet, fairly close to the earth, and easy to see in dark skies and with binoculars. So its kind of rare, but not something so spectacular the non-astronomer population will care much about it.

Edited by Exnihilo, 07 December 2018 - 11:39 AM.

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#3 RyanSem

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 11:55 AM

I think these "semi-rare" sights are always worth the hunt, but in reality it's not a huge event and it will be back in another 5-6 years. If you wait another week it will be even brighter and easier to see, and perhaps look cooler in that regard, but for now I do like trying to find it again every night to track its progress across the sky and its change in visibility. 


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#4 Codbear

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 11:56 AM

Any time a comet becomes visible with the naked eye it is definitely noteworthy, but nothing on par with Hale-Bopp or, in my youth, Comet West.

 

For amateur astronomers though, 46P/Wirtanen is still quite the Holiday treat and well-placed for observation in the night sky for Northern Hemisphere observers in particular.


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#5 havasman

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 12:20 PM

I like to follow bright comets like this one in particular through the course of their travel across the sky and their brightness cycle. That can be very enjoyable if you like that sort of thing. If it doesn't flip your switch then it's no big deal.

 

Mass media's pretty hopeless in regard to how they portray celestial events. Standard asteroids passing by are fairly regularly portrayed as near extinction events. The array of Super-/Blood-/Wolf- prefixes for the moon is ridiculous. But if it can actually get folks to look up at what's in the night sky then I guess the hyperbole serves a purpose.


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#6 DHEB

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 12:29 PM

I had the fortune of spotting it this week. It is still low over my horizon, but bright and big (around 20 minutes if I understood correctly). It was a pleasure to observe it. I am also not into comets, but I believe it is definitely worth observing.
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#7 44ye

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 01:26 PM

Here is a YouTube link 

https://www.youtube....ndex=13&list=WL

 

Under the SHOW MORE there are several links to time lines and other information

 

Comets LINK

https://in-the-sky.o...php?feed=comets

Don


Edited by 44ye, 07 December 2018 - 01:42 PM.

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#8 Carol L

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 01:45 PM

I just got notifications on my phone about articles covering Comet 46P/Wirtanen, and it's portrayed like a major celestial event.

I'm not really into comets all that much, so please pardon me if I'm caught napping. Is it that big of an event? Any tips on when and how to observe this with my scope?

 

Hi Divye, 46P/Wirtanen is presently in Eridanus and moving north.

Here's a site with great finder charts: LINK

 

smile.gif


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#9 SeaBee1

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 01:52 PM

I have never viewed a comet with optical aid (unless you count these abominable eyeglasses I contend with...). My plan is to take a look this coming Monday, special event or not. It's a comet... it's got to be cool!

 

Good hunting!

 

CB


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#10 starcanoe

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 02:04 PM

What most folks might consider nice, if not impressive comets...come along every 10 to 20 years on average.  These actually look like comets with the naked eye or just low powered binoculars...BUTT even for those you need to be somewhere reasonably dark....

 

Interesting comets like this come along every 5 to 10 years....but again decent skies go a long way.....

 

Comets that might look okay in a big scope every couple of years.


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#11 druhela

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Posted Yesterday, 05:04 AM

Thanks for the help guys,

 

I'll try and locate it in my light polluted skies anyway, this upcoming week. 


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#12 Codbear

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Posted Yesterday, 02:27 PM

 

 

Mass media's pretty hopeless in regard to how they portray celestial events. Standard asteroids passing by are fairly regularly portrayed as near extinction events.

Dick - I made the mistake of taking a drink while reading your post...spit it out I laughed so hard. You hit it on the head for sure. Our new-found capabilities of finding 50 ft +/- diameter asteroids coinciding with the the omnipresent social media has created an irresistible chance for the media to hype every new discovery beyond reason, with the general public unaware of course that an asteroid of extinction capabilities would have been found years in advance.

 

One of my bucket list items is to be able to observe one of these little guys moving against the background stars in real time, so I get excited when a new one is found, and hop on JPL's website to generate an ephemeris to find location and magnitude. I'm usually severely disappointed because most of these pups don't even break 18th magnitude. 

 

I am however in the process of improving my chances for something as faint as 14th or 15th magnitude though. I sold my 16" Teeter and Tom Osypowski is crafting a 24" f3.1 SpicaEye dob for me. It will go almost a magnitude deeper than the 16", so hopefully one of these future little guys will cooperate and I'll have another shot at it.


Edited by Codbear, Yesterday, 09:32 PM.

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#13 aeajr

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Posted Yesterday, 02:41 PM

Thanks for the help guys,

 

I'll try and locate it in my light polluted skies anyway, this upcoming week. 

At this post I lay out some detailed steps and markers to help you find the comet.  It is specific to tonight, but if you follow the process I describe you may find it helpful on other nights.

 

You can find that post here:

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/505764-a-newbies-early-observation-log-join-me/page-138#entry8995755


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#14 astro4565

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Posted Today, 12:53 PM

I just saw it last night with my William Optics 120mm f/7.5 APO. It was big and bright in my 22mm Panoptic (41X) eyepiece. It was definitely worth tracking down. I saw a slight tail on the comet. One of the guys took some pictures of it last night. I look forward to seeing them.




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