Saturday, September 11, 2010

103P/Harltey Update!

Cometary update! I had a chance to get out last night and take a look at this comet again (see the previous post).  It seems to be slightly brighter than my previous observation, as I was able to hold it in direct (as opposed to averted) vision.  The coma appears to be a bit brighter to the north, however, there is no central condensation to the comets nucleus that I could see.  NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory maintains a website where one can generate orbital diagrams for this comet, and they indicate that the comet is currently .317 AU from Earth, and 1.244 AU from the sun (and getting closer!).  The comet is moving approximately 1.67 arc seconds per minute across the sky, so it does not yet appear to move that far from night to night.  I estimated the comet to be between magnitude 10 and 10.5 and it is in the constellation Andromeda.  The sketch was completed at 0508 UT on 9-11-2010, which was 10:08 PM MST on 9-10.

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