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Monday, October 06, 2014


Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring and Ptolemy's Cluster (6 October 2014)

Comet Siding Spring near the Ptolemy Cluster in the tail of Scorpius. Stack of 20x30 second exposures using iTelescope T12, SUMMED in imageJ, click to embiggen for the full glory (it's big, but worth it) the comet is a timy smudge near the middle right.Single 30 secomd fram with brightness increased, the comet is the fuzzy blob near the centre (clcik to embiggen for best effect).

Comet C/2013 A1 Siding spring is fading as it heads for its rendezvous with Mars. It is currently travelling through some rather spectacular parts of the tail of Scorpius.

Animation of comet C/2013 A1 moving (close crop)

So naturally the light of the almost full Moon is messing up imaging. Thankfully iTelescope T12, as well as being a widefield instrument that allows imaging  broad vistas, is very forgiving of Moonlight.

In the full image the comet is difficult to distinguish, unlike the images back in September. The combination of fading, Moonlight and a crowded stellar field all make it a more difficult object. 
Entire field animated, you will need to embiggen and look carefully at the middle lreft to seethe comet.

Over the next few days the comet moves through some georgous skies, as the Moon gets brighter. But on the 8th, when the comet is near the Butterfly cluster (M6), there is a total Lunar Eclipse, so this will make imaging the comet and it beautiful surrounds easier.

I have a backlog of Siding Spring images to process, so you should see some nice ones shortly. I've also done some colour imaging, but I suck at that.

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