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Posted: 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.
Posted: 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.
https://www.skyandtelescope.com/observi ... -for-2018/
The University of Maryland has an observing campaign in effect...
Posted: December 1st, 2018, 12:55 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
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.
https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astrono ... hes-earth/
Posted: December 7th, 2018, 3:17 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.
Posted: December 12th, 2018, 11:38 am
Wirtanen was acquired yet again at HRPO, this past Monday the 10th. Scott C. again used an automated scope to get it; it looked brighter and more obvious. Later that night Merrill Hess obtained them in a binocular near his home in the east Livingston/west Tangipahoa area.
Posted: December 15th, 2018, 6:15 pm
Tonight, Comet Wirtanen is making some small history. It is the tenth closest comet to Earth since 1950. Sadly, the forecast for tonight's attempted acquisition shows an over seventy-percent cloud cover. The coming week could be better, though.
https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astrono ... -and-moon/
Posted: December 21st, 2018, 10:10 am
UA Researcher Captures Rare Radar Images of Comet 46P/Wirtanen
A UA-led team took the best known opportunity for the next 30 years to image a comet with radar, resulting in some unique and surprising information about Comet 46P/Wirtanen.
https://uanews.arizona.edu/story/ua-res ... 6pwirtanen
Posted: December 21st, 2018, 6:54 pm
HRPO personnel can't promise anything due to the Full Moon, but an acquisition of Wirtanen will be attempted tonight and tomorrow night, weather permitting. Wirtanen at this time is near Capella and the Kids. These two nights and Sunday night will be probably the final times to see Wirtanen while it is up close. Tuesday and Wednesday nights are forecast to be cloudy.