fredag 27 januari 2012

Comet in the morning sky

Comet Garradd has been visible in the sky for a long while now. During the first part of the winter, the comet was best seen in the evenings, but it has dropped lower for each day and is now best viewed in the mornings.

The comet is located in the constellation of Hercules and can be found reasonably high in the skies in the early morning hours. The comet is fairly bright, but unfortunately just below naked-eye visibility. It is, however, an easy binocular target and can be seen with a normal pair of binoculars (say 8x45) even from moderately light-polluted skies.

Below is a picture of the comet taken in the morning of 26 January 2012 with a DSLR and a 300mm lens (consisting of ~50 stacked 30-second exposures). The comet is sporting two tails and the photo below reveals the ion tail of the comet (which can be seen extending to the right of the green coma) and the dust tail (stretching down below the comet). Earlier in the year, the two tails appeared like single tail as seen from our perspective, but as the comet rounded the Sun, the two tails can now be seen separately.

The green glow in the background is due to faint pulsating auroras in the sky.

Comet Garradd will remain visible in the constellation of Hercules for yet a long time.

Comet C/2009 P1 Garradd

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