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Friday, July 27, 2007


Comet 2006 VZ13 in STEREO

Image Credit NASA/STEREO

Comet 2006 VZ13 (the faint dot bracketed by Yellow Bars, the over exposed blob is Arcturus) has been delighting the folks in the northern Hemisphere recently. It's a relatively "bright" comet (ie at its brightest, you could just see it in 10x50 binoculars) that has zipped through Draco, into Bootes and headed for Virgo (see ephemeris here). Unfortunately for Earth bound observers, it's pretty close to the Sun now, but that puts it in the view of the STEREO and SOHO instruments.

Karl Batthams first picked it up in the images from the STEREO H2A instrument and through his directions I was able to find it myself (Look in images from 22-07-2007. With (0,0) being the pixels in the upper-left corner, the comet is at 266,58 at 00:09UT, very close to the brightest star in that region (Arcturus).

I made an animation of the comet, you can download the animation here (348 Kb AVI). VZ13 should still be in the STEREO field of View until tomorrow, so I'll try and do some more shots.

For some Earthly observations of VZ13, here's Tom's image (very nice), a nice shot from
Burkhard Leitner, some more nice shots from Jean-Gabriel Bosch and finally a great animation of VZ13 close to NGC 5633 from Gianluca Masi.

Props to Comet Al for showing me how to align images in ImageJ, saving me heaps of time.

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