Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Close Approach

Comet 103P/ Hartley 2 is making its close approach to Earth this week. Here are two images of the comet as it appeared last night from Kitt Peak. The first image is a sum of 43 two minute exposures aligned to the star field showing the comets apparent motion during the nearly one and a half hours of exposure. The second image is a sum of the same images aligned on the comet. The dust tail is barely visible in the later as we look directly at the comet head-on.

Images acquired using a Takahashi E160 astrograph and a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera. Steward Observatory's Bok 2.3 Meter Telescope was used as a guide scope for the camera system. The diagonal streak of light was produced by a passing earth orbiting satellite that crossed the field during the last 2 minute exposure.


Dean said...

Spectacular Image Dave!

Jim said...

Very nice images, Dave. Do I see a hint of reddish color in the top of the coma? I wonder if that is the faint tail that I've heard reports of?