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Old 29-11-2010, 09:30 AM
Rob_K
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Comet & clusters, 28 Nov 2010

Hardly seem to be at home lately, not that it matters greatly with the weather, but last night I was and in a 'miraculous' break in the clouds that lasted an hour or two I saw one of the most beautiful telescopic sights I've EVER seen!!

It was comet 103P Hartley nestled between the two bright open clusters NGC 2422 (M47) and NGC 2437 (M46). The comet showed as a large bright circular haze, brightening towards the centre but not highly centrally-condensed. The contrast between the two clusters is wonderful - 2422 is sparse but with brilliant stars while 2437 is densely packed with dimmer stars and has a strong background glow.

Using a 21mm EP in the 4.5" f8 reflector I could get 103P and either of the clusters in the FOV, but with the nominal field of 2-deg afforded by the 40mm EP I could just squeeze all three in the field. Lovely orange star HIP37379 added to the eyepiece experience.

What a stunning sight - try that in the longer fls of a big dob or SCT!!!

I also photographed it.... but as always a view's worth a thousand pics! Link attached - you might also be able to just make out blue planetary nebula NGC 2438 hiding in NGC 2437 (it's superimposed on the cluster actually, not part of it). It was only as I processed the image that I realised I had missed it in viewing, and it was a bit late to go back out!

http://i727.photobucket.com/albums/w...3-15UTcrop.jpg

Anyway, if you do have clear skies, the comet will be well worth a view in the next night or two as it moves slowly away from the clusters.

Cheers -
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Old 29-11-2010, 09:52 AM
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Beautiful image Rob! Spectacular!
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Old 29-11-2010, 10:13 AM
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astroron (Ron)
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Great Stuff Rob love the planetary in hiding in NGC2437
Great report as well
If only this weather would clear up enough for us to go and observe it for our selves would be nice
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Old 29-11-2010, 10:31 AM
Rob_K
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Thanks OBMY, Ron - hope your skies clear! It's sights like this that re-affirm your commitment to visual astronomy - a strange dusty visitor to the inner solar system set against the backdrop of some of the true delights of the Milky Way.

Cheers -
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Old 29-11-2010, 01:33 PM
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Great obs there Rob. Love you image, what a perfect alighnment and it must've been fascinating to see those two clusters, NGC 2438 and the coment all in the same FOV. A fairly rare event I'd imagine. Wish I could get the 120st out for this but was full Melbournecast as usual
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Old 29-11-2010, 06:35 PM
Rob_K
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgc hunter View Post
Great obs there Rob. Love you image, what a perfect alighnment and it must've been fascinating to see those two clusters, NGC 2438 and the coment all in the same FOV. A fairly rare event I'd imagine. Wish I could get the 120st out for this but was full Melbournecast as usual
Thanks pgc! Yep it was great, but still don't know why the gods saw fit to give me a little window. Must have been a better boy than I thought I was. And of course I didn't buy any gear.

Seiichi Yoshida runs a comet conjunction calendar if you're ever interested (or get clear sky again). Some are pretty wide 'conjunctions', others are dim comets/objects suited only to CCD, but if there's a bright comet in the sky his list is worth a check for the odd visual target.
http://www.aerith.net/comet/rendezvous/current.html

I've looked at some images posted around the web of this conjunction - most if not all are much better quality than mine, but mine's the only one I've seen with the objects in line. States & Europe got the comet each side of centre on successive nights.

Cheers -
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Old 29-11-2010, 08:08 PM
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Fabulous Rob!! Did you send it off to a few sites?? eg. Spaceweather.
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Old 29-11-2010, 08:52 PM
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Hi Rob,

Great report mate -- I looked in on 103P Hartley three weeks ago when it was in Canis Minor and I was in Mudgee with 20x80s and the reflector, but I didn't realise this nice alignment was coming (not that woulld have made any difference, all we've had to look at in Sydney has been clouds and rain).

Beautifully captured!!

Dare I suggest you send it to AS&T -- Greg is a big comet afficianado !


Best,

Les D
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Old 30-11-2010, 07:43 PM
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What a great opportunity - nicely grabbed, described and imaged Rob. Thanks also for the link - should be very useful.
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