Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova: an image (16 Feb. 2017)
Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova is now well-placed in the sky, after its perihelion, last 31 Dec. 2016. While late last year it showed a stunning, long ion tail, now the vision is largely dominated by its coma.
The image above comes from the average (left) and median combination (right) of five, 120-seconds exposures, unfiltered, remotely taken with the 16″-f/3.75 Tenagra III (“Pearl”) robotic unit part of Tenagra Observatories in Arizona. The telescope tracked the apparent motion of the comet. The imaging camera is based on the KAF-16801 CCD. The resulting image scale is 2.4″/pixel. Further details are available on the image itself. The median combination limits the contamination of the stars, making the shape of the coma easier to see.
The observatory is placed at 1300 meters above the sea level, in the Sonoran desert, providing one of the best skies in the world. This image is the first one coming from a cooperation between the Virtual Telescope Project and Tenagra Observatories, Ltd., which will be announced soon.
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