46/P Wirtanen

Celestial visitors from the edge of the Solar System.
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Christopher K.
Posts: 4397
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

46/P Wirtanen

Post by Christopher K. » May 16th, 2018, 1:36 pm

There is preliminary evidence (and quite a bit of excitement) regarding the possible brightening of Comet Wirtanen to magnitude +4 or +3 from November 2018 to December 2019. If this occurs, of course the Highland Road Park Observatory will program public time to view the object.

The close approach will be only four days after perihelion! Wirtanen will probably be the tenth closest comet in modern times!

We are now half-a-year from the best three months of viewing for Wirtanen. To plan for the best--a brightening to +3--potential viewers should obtain a good binocular (anywhere from 7x to 12x) and start assessing their observing locations for light pollution. There is plenty of time to speak to electricity providers and public works departments and neighbors, but this six-month period should be used wisely and efficiently to maximize the chance of a good view of Wirtanen.

More information:
http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/0046P/2018.html

Christopher K.
Posts: 4397
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 46/P Wirtanen

Post by Christopher K. » September 21st, 2018, 4:18 pm

Tonight at 7:30pm (at the Highland Road Park Observatory), there will be a brief lecture on preparing for the arrival of Wirtanen. The lecture is for an adult audience and has no admission fee.

More information:
http://www.cometography.com/pcomets/046p.html
https://www.skyandtelescope.com/observi ... -for-2018/

The University of Maryland has an observing campaign in effect...
http://wirtanen.astro.umd.edu/46P/46P_2018.shtml

Christopher K.
Posts: 4397
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 46/P Wirtanen

Post by Christopher K. » December 1st, 2018, 1:55 pm

The time to look for Wirtanen is now. The best nights this upcoming week probably will be tonight, Tuesday night and Wednesday night. Looking at the comments and postings from Greg Crinklaw, the “International Comet Quarterly”, Chris Peat, Joe Rao, The Starry Night Pro Plus and Seiichi Yoshida, I'd say a cautious magnitude estimate for Wirtanen today is 5.3. Keep in mind, this is the cumulative brightness for a diffuse object.

HRPO is tasking members of BRAS to report any positive sightings of Comet Wirtanen, together with a magnitude estimate for this area's altitude and conditions. If enough positive sightings are reported, HRPO will program viewing times for the public to see Wirtanen.

Wirtanen culminates at 9:57pm CST tonight. According to The Starry Night Pro Plus, a five-degree field-of-view with Wirtanen centered will barely include magnitude 4.4, F-class Tau1 Eridani. At culmination Wirtanen is 2˚20' west of this star.

More information:
https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astrono ... hes-earth/
http://www.cometchasing.skyhound.com/

Christopher K.
Posts: 4397
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 46/P Wirtanen

Post by Christopher K. » December 7th, 2018, 4:17 pm

On Monday 3 December and Tuesday 4 December, Craig Brenden acquired Wirtanen at between 35x and 40x with a 5.5" aperture. On Wednesday 5 December (after the Light Pollution Committee meeting), Scott C. obtained WIrtanen with about the same magnification. I saw it then. It was a very faint image; averted vision was needed, but the color mainly was easy to detect.

The Highland Road Park Observatory will host an attempted viewing of Comet Wirtanen on Saturday 15 December from 9:15pm to 11:15pm. All ages are allowed; there will be no admission fee.

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