Comet 46P/Wirtanen starts its northern show: new images (5 Dec. 2018)

Comet 46P/Wirtanen is now ready for you to see it. Visible to the naked eye from dark sites, it is an easy target with a modest binocular and it will be even brighter in the next 10 days or so. Here they are our latest images.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen shines among some of the most famous constellations and stars - 5 Dec. 2018

Comet 46P/Wirtanen shines among some of the most famous constellations and stars – 5 Dec. 2018

The image above is the average of five, 10 seconds exposures, captured with a Canon 5DmIV DSLR and a 24mm-f/2.8 lens. Comet Wirtanen is visible as a fuzzy object on the bottom right, while stunning constellations as Orion and Taurus (the Bull), are on the stage, too.

Below is a detail, grabbed with the same camera, but using a 70mm-f/2.8 lens, where the comet is better visible with its diffuse light.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen - 5 Dec. 2018

Comet 46P/Wirtanen – 5 Dec. 2018

We also captured am high-resolution close-up of comet 46P, here it is:

Comet 46P/Wirtanen: a close-up - 5 Dec. 2018

Comet 46P/Wirtanen: a close-up – 5 Dec. 2018

The image above comes from the average of five, 180-seconds exposures, unfiltered, remotely collected with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at the Virtual Telescope Project. The robotic telescope tracked the apparent motion comet Wirtanen, so stars left trails on the background. The image scale is 1.2″/pixel.

Images were carefully processed to preserve the delicate visibility of the coma. This close-up shows, as usual, the inner coma, surrounding the false nucleus, where the “dirty snowball” originating the whole activity is placed.  You can see our past images of the same object here.

We plan to follow comet 46P intensively and we will also share it live, online, soon, so stay tuned!

NB: we have here a quick guide for you to observe comet Wirtanen personally!

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