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Comet 46P/Wirtanen close to the Pleiades

Comet 46P/Wirtanen close to the Pleiades

Comet 46P/Wirtanen close to the Pleiades (M45) on 16 December 2018 (imaged from Southern Africa, after a thunder shower and in between clear gaps in partly cloudy conditions).

I kept the exposures a bit shorter than I would have liked, and rather pushed the ISO a bit higher due to the cloud cover that was increasing. Luckily it was clear towards the North for just long enough to take the series of photos required for stacking, and despite the weather, the Astronomical Seeing was actually really excellent after the rain.

The Comet's faint tail was only visible in darker skies with longer exposures. This Comet has a beautiful bright green Coma (or head). The green color is caused by Cyanogen (CN) and diatomic Carbon (C2), which glows in the green part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum of Light when illuminated by the Sun in space.

Geocentric Distance:
0.0775 AU (Astronomical Unit).
30 Lunar distances.
11.5 Million km.
7.1 Million miles.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Lens.
Celestron AdvancedVX Telescope Mount.
Optolong L-Pro Clip-In Filter for Nikon.
Nikon D750 DSLR.

46 x 60 sec. ISO 3200 exposures.
Calibration Frames:
30 x Bias
20 x Darks

Astrometry Info:
Center RA, Dec: 58.071, 22.397
Center RA, hms: 03h 52m 17.067s
Center Dec, dms: +22° 23' 47.549"
Size: 8.45 x 5.68 deg
Radius: 5.089 deg
Pixel scale: 19 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: Up is 130 degrees E of N
View an Annotated Sky Chart for this image.
View this image in the WorldWideTelescope.

Pre-Processing and Linear workflow in PixInsight,
and finished in Photoshop.

Carl Sagan on Comets:

People's reaction to Comets, excerpt from Cosmos S01E04:
Time code: 13:18
"By 1910, Halley's comet returned once more. But this time, astronomers using a new tool, the spectroscope had discovered cyanogen gas in the tail of a comet. Now, cyanogen is a poison. The Earth was to pass through this poisonous tail. The fact that the gas was astonishingly, fabulously thin reassured almost nobody. For example, look at the headlines in the Los Angeles Examiner for May 9, 1910: "Say, Has That Comet 'Cyanogened' You Yet?" "Entire Human Race Due For Free Gaseous Bath. Expect High Jinks." Or take this from the San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 1910: "Comet Comes And Husband Reforms." "Comet Parties Now Fad In New York." Amazing stuff! In 1910, people were holding comet parties, not so much to celebrate the end of the world as to make merry before it happened. There were entrepreneurs who were hawking comet pills. I think I'm gonna take one for later. And there were those who were selling gas masks to protect against the cyanogen. And comet nuttiness didn't stop in 1910." - Carl Sagan, Cosmos.

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Photo prise le 16 décembre 2018 (© Martin_Heigan / Flickr)

Voir aussi :
 comet 46p, wirtanen, pleiades, m45, star cluster, seven sisters, messier 45, 200-500mm, nikon, nikkor, astronomy, astrophotography, martin, heigan, dslr astrophotography, lens astrophotography, celestron avx, nikon astrophotography, southern hemisphere, photography

Photos Nikon