Comet 46P/Wirtanen ready to its flyby with the Earth: a new image – 15 Dec. 2018

Comet 46P/Wirtaten is ready to have its long-awaited close encounter with the Earth later today, here it is an image we grabbed last night.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen: 15 Dec. 2018

Comet 46P/Wirtanen: 15 Dec. 2018

* NB: versione in Italiano qui *

The image above comes from the average of seven, 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.

Weather was not perfect. We were lucky to have less than 30 minutes of clear skies, enough to capture the comet. As usual, we concentrated on the inner coma, where the nucleus is placed, carefully processing our images to assure the best vision. You can see our past images of the same object here. Today, at 13:05 UTC, comet Wirtanen will reach its minimum distance from the Earth, about 11.5 millions of km (30 times the mean lunar distance), this making it the 20th closest comet ever

We plan to follow comet 46P intensively and tonight we will show it live, online, so stay tuned!

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

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