Watch a comet move

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Astroimager John Bunyan from Grants Pass, Oregon, just sent me a video of Comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd). Although the video’s run-time is short (only 5 seconds), it encompasses 2.5 hours of exposures.

John shot thirty 5-minute images back to back and compiled them into this video. The movie shows Comet Garradd slowly drifting toward the Coathanger asterism, a grouping of 10 stars brighter than 7th magnitude in the constellation Vulpecula the Fox.

This group appears distinct to the naked eye on dark nights, and it’s even better through binoculars. The brightest members are 4 Vulpeculae, at magnitude 5.1; 5 Vulpeculae, at magnitude 5.6; and 7 Vulpeculae, which shines at magnitude 6.3.

The Coathanger, also known as Collinder 399 and Brocchi’s Cluster, was the 399th entry in a catalog of open clusters compiled by Swedish astronomer Per Arne Collinder. His catalog contains 471 objects.

Nice job, John!



Related blog: Close encounters of the cometary kind, by Editor David J. Eicher

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