Sunday, 26 September 2010

Get ready for a naked-eye comet - Comet 103P/Hartley 2

Astronomy observation help
Comet 103P Hartley 2 imaged on the evening of 10 Sep 2010 from Mauna Kea, 13x100s luminance plus 3x100s@2x2binning for RGB color, ST2k camera and 100mm APO. Foto: Andrew Cooper
Lekker! Dit lyk of hier weer `n helder komeet (Comet 103P/Hartley 2) op pad is. Die maan gaan pla, maar dalk sien ons dit met die blote oog of ten minste met verkykers. Hier is `n klomp inligting. Kry jou sterkaarte reg en maak reg om te kyk.

In Suid-Afrika gaan Comet 103P/Hartley 2 so teen 8 Oktber sy kop in die Noorde bo die horison uitsteek.

Hannes Pieterse

Get ready for a naked-eye comet
Comet 103P/Hartley promises to be the brightest comet of 2010 when it peaks in October.
Richard Talcott, senior editor

 The brightest comet of the year starts to put on a good show in late September before reaching its peak in October. When Comet 103P/Hartley glows at its brightest, it should be visible with naked eyes under a dark sky.

Australian astronomer Malcolm Hartley discovered this comet in March 1986. It orbits the Sun once every 6.5 years, traveling from just outside the orbit of Jupiter to nearly Earth's distance from the Sun. This is the comet's fourth return to the inner solar system since it was discovered, and its best one yet.

Comet 103P/Hartley should peak at 5th magnitude when it passes closest to Earth in October. A 5th-magnitude star is bright enough to see with naked eyes if you're out of the city, but a comet's light spreads out, making it harder to see. Still, you'll have a good chance to see it without optical aid from a dark-sky site. Binoculars will show the comet nicely, and a telescope will let you see details.
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