A little periodic comet is visiting the inner solar system over the next few months. Comet 45/P Honda–Mrkos–Pajdušáková, a tiny piece of ice and dust left over from the earliest days of the solar system, moves periodically around the Sun every 5.25 years. It made its closest approach to the Sun on December 31, 2016 and it’s visible now. As it passes close to Earth in February, it will brighten and appear to move quickly across the sky from day to day. You’ll need binoculars to see it, but it’s worth following this little leftover hunk of the early solar system [Read more…] about A Guide to Observing Comet 45/P Honda–Mrkos–PajdušákováShare This:
At any particular time, a half-dozen or more comets are visible with a good-sized amateur telescope. But a bright comet is a once-in-a-decade event at best, and a Great Comet, one that grows bright enough to capture wide attention, is rarer still. Recently there have been two Great Comets visible to observers in the southern hemisphere, Comet McNaught in 2007 and Comet Lovejoy in 2011. But it’s been a long drought for stargazers in the northern hemisphere, where no spectacular comet has been seen since 1997 when the mighty Comet C/1995 O1, better known as Comet Hale-Bopp, barreled in from the outer solar system and put on one of the most watched celestial shows in modern history [Read more…] about A Look Back at Comet Hale-BoppShare This:
All five bright planets are visible in the sky during this last week of 2015 and into the new year. Here’s a roundup of where to find them and what to look for, along with your best chance to easily spot Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) on the first morning of 2016 [Read more…] about Planet Roundup… and Comet Catalina UpdateShare This:
Here’s a little Christmas present from the imaging team in charge of the OSIRIS camera on the Rosetta spacecraft, the little European probe that has been orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Though they were criticized for keeping the images to themselves for many months, the team has finally released a treasure chest of images online for the first time since Rosetta encountered the comet in August 2014. More images of the comet will be released into the albums in time. You can explore the images and albums of the Rosetta encounter with Comet 67/P at the link above [Read more…] about Fly Along With a CometShare This:
Alan Dyer captured this image of Comet Catalina this morning from Arizona. His verdict on the comet is: “Meh.” It’s still a binocular comet, if that. Let’s hope it brightens over the next week or two. Will there EVER be another great comet for northern-hemisphere observers? It’s been nearly 19 years since Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake graced the northern skies!
— Alan Dyer (@amazingskyguy) December 6, 2015