Comet Hartley 103P and the Double Cluster in Perseus

Uploaded 10/9/10

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 This spectacular trio of comet and twin open clusters was a photographic and visual treat. Closest approach was within hours of this image, which was taken at 4:15 am Friday morning. The comet not only shows a stunning cyan/green coloration, but a short fan tail pointing downwards. As we head into the full moon in two weeks, the comet will pass the Earth very closely and we will be keeping track of its expanding coma and hopefully lengthening tail.

Image Details

NGC884 is on the left, and is a 6.1 magnitude open cluster spanning half a degree in width. To its right is NGC869 which is slightly fainter at 6.7 magnitude but the same angular size. These clusters are strewn with many K type stars which appear as orange in this image. All 12 images were combined in Images Plus with the comet images from 3:15 to 4:15 brought together on a stack over the 4:15 image.

Lens: 8" f/4 Newtonian Astrograph Platform: Astrophysics AP1200 Exposure: 12 x 5m = 60mins Location: Payson, Arizona Elevation: 5150 ft. Sky: Seeing 6/10, Transparency 6/10 Outside Temperature: 60F Processing Tools: Photoshop CS2 HOME GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS