Category Archives: Comets

Comet ATLAS (C/2019 Y4) Disintegration

Comet ATLAS on Apr 14, 2020, 03:42 UT. 20×30 sec, Gain 37, Offset 49, QHY183c at -20C, UHC-S Filter, Televue TV-85 at F/5.6.

Looks like Comet ATLAS was a dud.  It broke up into pieces after it had brightened much higher than predicted last month.  The brightening and breakup so soon afterwards indicates a large release of material from inside the object as it cracked open, so to speak.

By the time I took this pic, there were at least 3 to 5 major pieces in a line and the out-gassing of volatiles available was over with.   Just rock and dust was all that was left.

Comet ATLAS (C/2019 Y4)

Comet ATLAS (2019 Y4) on Mar 27, 2020, 3:05 UT. Base was 5×60 sec and I added another 10 minutes with 15 sec and 30 sec subs. QHY183c, UHC-S filter, TV-85 @ F/5.6.

I fought clouds on Mar 27, 2020 and also two nights before that on Mar 25, 2020.  The March 27th session produced this image.  The image data from the 25th was not worth posting.  This image, even though it is only a few minutes of exposure that I pieced together, was decent enough to post online.  Better than nothing, I suppose.

I am hoping that better conditions are coming soon.  I need to get a continuous set of  sub-images for this comet instead of having to put together a hodgepodge of exposures taken between bouts of cloud cover.

Comet C/2017 T2 PANSTARRS

Comet C/2017 T2 PANSTARRS. 14×30 sec, Gain 42, Offset 15, -20C, QHY183c, UHC-S filter, Televue TV-85 at F/5.6. Detail
crop.
Comet C/2017 T2 PANSTARRS. 14×30 sec, Gain 42, Offset 15, -20C, QHY183c, UHC-S filter, Televue TV-85 at F/5.6. Portrait crop.
Comet C/2017 T2 PANSTARRS. 11×180 sec, Gain 20, Offset 15, -15C, QHY183c, UHC-S filter, Televue TV-85 at F/5.6. Detail crop.
Comet C/2017 T2 PANSTARRS. 11×180 sec, Gain 20, Offset 15, -15C, QHY183c, UHC-S filter, Televue TV-85 at F/5.6. Full field crop.

Here is an image of a comet that is big and bright enough to make some interesting images, especially when it passes near objects like the Double Cluster.   I missed the closest approach of these two due to weather and other factors, but at least I got the parting shot of them together.

Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) on Feb 13, 2019

C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) on Feb 13, 2019, 09:20 UT. 40×30 sec @ ISO 3200, IDAS-LPS, Canon T3, Televue TV-85 at F/5.6.

A new comet is in our neighborhood passing by at a relatively close 28 million miles from Earth.  It is a very long period comet that we have not seen before, but it has visited the inner solar system over 1300 years ago.  However, nobody noticed it because it was probably too dim to see naked eye.   It was discovered late last year by Japanese astronomer Masayuki Iwamoto.

Below is the Star-Streaks version with minimal processing.   Both images were treated minimally in these first iterations of processing.  There is probably room for improvement, but I doubt I’ll get much more than what I have here.

C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) on Feb 13, 2019, 09:20 UT. 40×30 sec @ ISO 3200, IDAS-LPS, Canon T3, Televue TV-85 at F/5.6.

I shot this from a Bortle Red/White zone in the middle of a metro area.   It was moving so fast that even 30 sec shots showed trailing.   So, I went with ISO 3200 and 30 sec exposures even though it trailed a bit, which was about max for the sky conditions I had this night.  I shot some 1 minute subs while trying to guide on the comet, but my DEC calibration was not working, so they showed some trailing in DEC.  Plus, I was barely able to pick it up with 4 sec subs, so it was not tracking too well at that setting.

These two didn’t come out too bad, I guess.   A darker location would have shown the tail better, probably and there is some hint of it here.  Reports are the comet can be seen in binoculars from dark sites, which is pretty good for any comet.   But, I knew from experience that when they are barely visible in binos from dark sites, binoculars are almost useless from inside a metro area, so I didn’t even try.