Comet 46P/Wirtanen’s week: here we are, with a new image and movie (10 Dec. 2018)!

This is the week of comet 46P/Wirtanen: in the next days it will reach the perihelion (12 Dec., minimum distance from the Sun) and will have its fly-by with the Earth (16 Dec.). We will show you it live, meantime here it is our latest view.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen: 10 Dec. 2018

Comet 46P/Wirtanen: 10 Dec. 2018

* NB: versione in Italiano qui *

The image above comes from the average of nice, 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.

This close-up captured the inner coma and the false nucleus (on the bottom left), under excellent sky conditions. Images were carefully processed to preserve the delicate visibility of the coma and its core. You can see our past images of the same object here.

We managed to create a video, showing the motion of the comet across the stars in about 30 minutes. The video uses 80 frames captured back to back

Finally, using higher resolution images, we made a rotational gradient on the image, to see potential jet-like features in the inner coma

Comet 46P/Wirtanen after a rotational gradient filter: 10 Dec. 2018

Comet 46P/Wirtanen after a rotational gradient filter: 10 Dec. 2018

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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