Comet 162P/Siding Spring: an image (10 April 2016)

Comet 162P/Siding Spring: an image. A faint tail was possibly detected - 10 April 2016

Comet 162P/Siding Spring: an image. A faint tail was possibly detected – 10 April 2016

Comet 162P/Siding Spring is a truly interesting comet. On 2004, G. Masi et al. discovered its unusual tail (IAUC 8436 and 8445).

Last night, at Virtual Telescope, we wanted to observe this object again, expecting it as a mere dot of light, as the first time Masi et al. observed it. Interestingly, in 2004 the tail suddenly appeared only later, so there was still a chance to find it there, again.

The image above comes from the average of 13, 300-seconds exposures, unfiltered, remotely collected with the  PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope Project. Binning 2×2, with a resulting scale of 1.2″/pixel. The robotic telescope tracked the apparent motion of the comet, so stars left trails on the background. A possible faint tail is detected, better visible in the negative, equalized palette on the right, with PA=65 deg. Of course, because of the very poor signal-to-noise ratio, follow-up observations are desirable.

A detailed post about this object will follow later this month, with some history and past observations.

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