Comet C/2017 K2 Panstarrs: an image – 16 Mar. 2021

We spotted comet C/2017 K2 Panstarrs, a very interesting icy world already active despite its huge distance from the Sun. Here it is our image.

Comet C/2017 K2 Panstarrs: 16 Mar. 2021.

Comet C/2017 K2 Panstarrs: 16 Mar. 2021.

The image above comes from the average of twelve, 180-second 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 of comet C/2017 K2 Panstarrs, so stars left trails on the background.

For sure, this is an important object. At its discovery time (21 May 2017), the comet was almost 2.5 billions of km far from the Su, but already active: only comet C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp performed in a similar way at a comparable heliocentric distance and it is now a legendary object. Unfortunately,  at perihelion (19 Dec. 2022), C/2017 K2 will stay beyond the orbit of Mars and this will limit its naked eye visibility from Earth.

We plan to keep an eye on this comet for the next couple of years.

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