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Sunday, April 23, 2006


Comet 73P-B breaks up!

The northeastern horizon at 11.00 pm ACST, similar views will be seen elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere at the same local time (click to enrage to a more useful image).

Fragment 73P-B has split into two fragments, as seen in these lovely images here, here and here. This image give probaly the first good view of the split nuclei, with intensity traces. Recent reports also suggest that fragment G may have split in two as well.

Both fragments C and B are easily viewable in binoculars (if the clouds ever clear) and small telescopes. Fragment C (the lower one in the image above) is now magnitude 7.9 (ignore the magnitudes in the image, the comets have been evolving to rapidly for the MPC data) Fragment B is something like 8.5-8.9. G is around magnitude 15. Fragments B and C, being close to the stars of Corona borealis, are very easy to find at the moment (providing you aren't clouded out). Looking north-east, locate bright orange Arcturus (the organge star in the image above) then look down and to the right to a curved spray of stars, Corona borelais, the comets will be embeded in this diadem.

A fantastic montage of this area showing fragments B, C and G is located here (small version, very hard to see G in this one) and here (large version). For the most recent ephemeris, go to the Minor Planet Ephemeris Service and type
one designation per line, into the the input box.

Thanks Ian, for the oportunity to (at least look forward to) observe this comet 73P. I'm in Sydney and have little or no hope at the moment observing it, due to the clouds and the ever present city lights. In the next couple of weeks I'll do whatever I can to wangle a better site in the country. I will try to use the Celestron C90. It's getting a bit old now, but I must also try to attach a (bog standard) still digital camera somehow, just for the laughs, probably from those around me!

My daughter lives in Adelaide, and I would like to catch up with you if possible on the next visit, but that can't be for around 3-4 months at least.

Hey, isn't Phil's BA blogsite a pearl? I've learnt a lot this year since I was directed to it. And learned something about myself too. Glad to also find your input to the blog, as well, and the 'local' sky maps are a great confirmation of the direction I had (vainly) looked.

Same here, clouds, clouds and more clouds. Please do drop in when you make to trip to Adelaide, then we can see some different clouds together :-)

Yes, Phils websit is a gem of the blogworld. I can always find something illuminating there.

Good luck with the C90 and digital camera. Try setting it up for the Moon first, to get a feel for how things fit together.
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