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 around 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 Lady's Pass, near 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.

2018 November 29: photographed under dark skies from Lady's Pass, near Heathcote, Victoria, against the stars of Cetus when it was about magnitude 5.8; Canon 5D II + 500mm lens, at f4, on an NEQ6 Pro mount tracking the sky. Sixty minutes of exposures stacked and combined to optimise the comet and the background stars. Field of view ~3.5x2.5.. Note how the comet has brightened and grown in size as it approaches both perihelion and the Earth.

2018 December 10; magnitude about 4.5 against the stars of Cetus and naked-eye visible, equipment as above. Sixty x 1 minute exposures stacked and combined to optimise the comet and the background stars. Field of view ~3.2x2.3.. The comet has brightened and grown in size as it approaches both perihelion and the Earth.

Comet Home