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Monday, October 4

Comet 103P/Hartley

Comet 103P/Hartley is starting to brighten and is winging its way across the bottom of the W constellation of Cassiopeia towards Perseus.

The comet is visible all night, at a high altitude giving good clarity. However, it is still a little unspectacular visually, even though it is estimate at Magnitude 5.6 at the moment.

I took the following image on Friday night. It is a single 2 minute exposure at ISO1600. Just visible in the image is NGC281 (Pacman Nebula). The field of view in the image is about 2 x 1 degrees. The comet is 16.6 million miles from earth in this image.

More detailed images will be posted later in the week once I've processed them.

If the skies are clear take a look on Saturday night when the comet should be brighter and will be within about 0.5 degree from the Double Cluster in Perseus.

The comet is very small, estimated to be only 600 metres across. But is relatively bright as it will be within 10 million miles of earth at its closest approach.


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