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: Comet LINEAR (217P) Puts on Early Morning Show  ( 3671 )
drclay
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« : October 25, 2009, 09:42:01 AM »

There is a beautiful telescopic comet lurking in the early morning pre-dawn skies.  In the constellation of Monoceros, just east of ORION, Comet 217P LINEAR is demonstrating a lot of activity at present.  As shown in the ASO image below (click on image to enlarge) taken on October 24 with the 0.5m astrograph at f/4.6, the comet has a very fine fan-shaped tail that extends north and west of the large head of the comet.

The comet is presently at magnitude 12 but is more impressive telescopically than the magnitude suggests; the coma - or head - of the comet is clearly visible in large binoculars and small wide field telescopes and is conspicuously nebulous compared to the stars nearby in the rich Milky Way region of this part of the winter night sky.

This exposure was 45 seconds and has no processing, a raw single image in monochrome.

There are many bright telescopic (no naked eye comets at present) comets currently in the skies; see the Minor Planet Center current list of Observable Comets which is updated regularly with new discoveries and the latest updates on currently-observed comets at:
http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/iau/lists/LastCometObs.html

This list provides the last observations of every comet that is visible at the present time and provides the visual (m1) magnitude of each.  The list is typically updated daily.

Dr. Clay


* 217P_oct24s.jpg (83.88 kB, 798x659 - viewed 634 times.)

Dr. Clay
drclay@tcworks.net
ASO Petit Jean Mountain /MPC H41
ASO Petit Jean Mountain South /MPC H45
ASO West Conway /MPC H43
.......serving astronomy since 1971
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