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Serious comet chasers have been watching Comet C/2007 W1 (Boattini) for some time. For awhile, it exceeded its predicted brightness but is back to cruising at normal. During the time this photograph was taken, Boattini was a southern hemisphere object… But not for long. Now its about to round the Sun and head north!
Comet Boattini is sailing through our solar system in a long-period orbit with an oddly small inclination of 10 degrees. In the southern hemisphere, comet observers had a grand chance to watch as it passed 0.21 AU from Earth on June 12, and heads for inferior conjunction by June 15. Right now Comet Boattini is near fifth magnitude and easily seen without aid by experienced southern observers and it's heading our way…
Comet C/2007 W1 will make its appearance in the northern hemisphere morning sky on June 15th in Cetus as a 7-8th magnitude observing target - easily within reach of small binoculars and telescopes. It will continue to sail north and fade as it heads away from the Sun (and Earth) and will return to a challenging 12th magnitude object. Spectacular? No. Interesting? You betcha'.
Comet Boattini is sailing through our solar system in a long-period orbit with an oddly small inclination of 10 degrees.