46P Wirtanen

A periodic comet of period 5.4 years, it will make an especially close approach to Earth on 2018 December 18 (11.66 million km) when it is predicted to reach a magnitude of 3.5, naked eye visible. Its motion against the stars will be apparent in minutes! Early November its motion against the stars over an hour was negligible making deep imaging relatively easy.


2018 November 7: photographed under dark skies from Heathcote, Victoria, against the stars of Fornax when it was about magnitude 7.2; Canon 5D II + 500mm lens, at f4, on an NEQ6 Pro mount tracking the sky. Fifty four minutes of exposures stacked and combined. Field of view ~3.5x2.5.


Photographed from Heathcote against the stars of Monoceros on 2018 October 7 when around 7.5 magnitude; Canon 5D II/500mm lens + 1.4X extender combination on an NEQ6 Pro mount tracking the sky. Image optimised for comet and the stars. Field of view ~2x1.5.

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