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Comets: best photos ever! Five last years.

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posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 11:37 AM
1- McNaught

Comet McNaught, also known as the Great Comet of 2007 and given the designation C/2006 P1, is a non-periodic comet discovered on August 7, 2006 by British-Australian astronomer Robert H. McNaught. It was the brightest comet for over 40 years, and was easily visible to the naked eye for observers in the Southern Hemisphere in January and February 2007.

With an estimated peak magnitude of -5.5, the comet was the second brightest since 1935. Around perihelion on January 12, it was visible worldwide in broad daylight. Its tail measured an estimated 35 degrees in length at its peak.

The brightness of C/2006 P1 near perihelion was enhanced by forward scattering.

Last perihelion: January 12, 2007
Next perihelion: ?

SOURCE: Wikipedia

Comet McNaught Passes NGC 1245. A digital processing of many short exposures allowed frames of comet and stars to be separated, registered, and recombined in the final image

SOURCE: Rich Richins

Comet McNaught becoming visible to the unaided eye

SOURCE: Jose Francisco Hernandez (Altamira Observartory)

Comet Over Krakow. 2007 January 13rd

SOURCE: Andrzej Sawow

Comet McNaught over Catalonia. It peaked at a brightness that surpassed even Venus

SOURCE: Juan Casado (skylook)

Comet McNaught, the Great Comet of 2007, was the brightest comet of the last 40 years. Its spectacular tail spread across the sky and was breathtaking to behold from dark locations for many Southern Hemisphere observers

SOURCE: Robert H. McNaught

2- Holmes

Comet Holmes (official designation: 17P/Holmes) is a periodic comet in our solar system, discovered by the British amateur astronomer Edwin Holmes on November 6, 1892. Although normally a very faint object, Holmes became notable during its October 2007 return when it temporarily brightened by a factor of about half a million, in what was the largest known outburst by a comet, and became visible to the naked eye. It also briefly became the largest object in the solar system, as its coma (the thin dissipating dust ball around the comet) expanded to a diameter greater than that of the Sun (although its mass remained minuscule).

Last perihelion: May 4, 2007
Next perihelion: March 27, 2014

SOURCE: Wikipedia

Comet 17P/Holmes amazed sky watchers across planet Earth. A stunningly rapid outburst transformed it from a faint comet quietly orbiting the Sun with a period of about 7 years to a naked-eye comet rivaling the brighter stars in the constellation Perseus

SOURCE: Tony Cook

A beautiful blue ion tail has become visible in deep telescopic images of Comet Holmes

SOURCE: Ivan Eder and (inset) Paolo Berardi

Surprising Comet Holmes remains easily visible as a round, fuzzy cloud in the northern constellation Perseus.

SOURCE: Don Goldman

3- Lulin

Comet Lulin (official designation C/2007 N3 (Lulin), is a non-periodic comet. It was discovered by Ye Quanzhi and Lin Chi-Sheng from Lulin Observatory. It peaked in brightness and arrived at perigee for observers on Earth on February 24, 2009, at magnitude +5, and at 0.411 AU from Earth. The comet was near conjunction with Saturn on February 23, and passed near Regulus in the constellation of Leo on February 26 and 27, 2009. It was expected to pass near Comet Cardinal on May 12, 2009. The comet became visible to the naked eye from dark-sky sites around February 7. It passed near the double star Zubenelgenubi on February 6, near Spica on February 15 and 16, near Gamma Virginis on February 19 and near the star cluster M44 on March 5 and 6. It also passed near the planetary nebula NGC 2392 on March 14, and near the double star Wasat around March 17.[14][15] According to NASA, Comet Lulin's green color comes from a combination of gases that make up its local atmosphere, primarily diatomic carbon, which appears as a green glow when illuminated by sunlight in the vacuum of space.

Last perihelion: January 10, 2009
Next perihelion: ?

SOURCE: Wikipedia

Comet Lulin Tails

SOURCE: Joseph Brimacombe

Two Tails of Comet Lulin

SOURCE: Richard Richins (NMSU)

The largest galaxies seen left of the comet's head or coma are cataloged as NGC 3016, NGC 3019, NGC 3020 and NGC 3024 and lie at a distance of 100 million light-years or so

SOURCE: Johannes Schedler (Panther Observatory)
edit on 24-2-2012 by elevenaugust because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 11:38 AM
4- Hartley2

Comet Hartley 2, designated as 103P/Hartley by the Minor Planet Center, is a small periodic comet with an orbital period of 6.46 years. It was discovered by Malcolm Hartley in 1986 at the Schmidt Telescope Unit, Siding Spring Observatory, Australia. Its diameter is estimated to be 1.2 to 1.6 kilometres (0.75 to 0.99 mi).

Hartley 2 was the target of a flyby of the Deep Impact spacecraft, as part of the EPOXI mission, on November 4, 2010, which was able to approach within 700 kilometers (430 mi) of Hartley 2 as part of its extended mission. As of November 2010 Hartley 2 is the smallest comet which has been visited. It is the fifth comet visited by spacecraft, and the second comet visited by the Deep Impact spacecraft, which first visited Comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005.

Last perihelion: October 28, 2010
Next perihelion: April 20, 2017

SOURCE: Wikipedia

Below the comet are open star clusters M47 (right) and M46 (left).

SOURCE: Rolando Ligustri (CARA Project, CAST)

Double star clusters NGC 869 and NGC 884 and the comet (right)

SOURCE: Ivan Eder

5- Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy, formally designated C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy), is a periodic comet and Kreutz Sungrazer. It was discovered in November 2011 by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy. The comet's perihelion took it through the Sun's corona on 16 December 2011, after which it emerged intact and continued on its orbit to the outer solar system.

As Comet Lovejoy was announced on the 16th anniversary of the SOHO satellite's launch it became known as "The Great Birthday Comet of 2011", and because it was visible from Earth during the Christmas holiday it was also nicknamed "The Great Christmas Comet of 2011".

Last perihelion: 16 December 2011
Next perihelion: c. 2550–2600?

SOURCE: Wikipedia

Comet Lovejoy and the ISS. The right panel is the near horizon view of Comet Lovejoy from the space station itself

SOURCE: Left - Carlos Caccia, (Intendente Alvear, Argentina) / Right - Dan Burbank (ISS Expedition 30, NASA)

Seen here before sunrise from Paranal Observatory in Chile, the sungrazing comet's tails stretch far above the eastern horizon

SOURCE: Guillaume Blanchard

6- Garradd

Comet Garradd is expected to brighten to magnitude 10 at the beginning of July. For southern hemisphere viewers it will then rise in the late evening and be best observed in the morning sky before sunrise. As it brightens further during the following weeks it will also rise earlier to become an evening object by August.

Garrard will be north of the celestial equator and so have only a moderate altitude from New Zealand, getting lower during the following months. By the end of October it will be setting at about 9.30 pm and be very low by the time the sky darken following sunset. It will be lost to view a few days later.

The comet will continue to brighten during the rest of 2011 and into 2012, when it should reach magnitude 7.1 by February. It will also continue to move north, so that by 2012 it will rise only in the extreme north of New Zealand.

The comet was discovered by Gordon Garradd at Siding Spring, Australia in August 2009.

Last perihelion: 23 December 2011
Next perihelion: ?

SOURCE: Royal Astronomical Society

....along the Milky Way in the constellation Vulpecula

SOURCE: Rogelio Berna Andreo

Comet Garradd and M92

SOURCE: Rolando Ligustri (CARA Project, CAST)

posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 11:52 AM
Note that you can find here a complete list of the upcoming visible comet.
According to the above site, there's only one comet that will be visible with naked eye (I took a +6 magnitude as limit) for the next five years.
However, this is of course avalaible only for the known periodic comets. We cannot exclude a "good surprise" with a negative magnitude value brightness for an upcoming comet.
This is the C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) comet that will reach the 0 magnitude around March 2013.
edit on 24-2-2012 by elevenaugust because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 11:59 AM
Great thread!

My favorite is Lovejoy!

posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 12:23 PM
reply to post by elevenaugust

Thank you for the beautiful and wonderful post!

It's always nice to see the pure natural wonders of our solar system.

posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 03:42 PM
You forgot the doom-comet of last year, ELENIN.......

oh damn, it wasn't even visible with the naked eye, lol

some great pics, mate. I have some great pics of Kahoutek and Halley (1986) somewhere on film, but seeing as they are older than 5 years they don't count

edit on 24/2/2012 by Hellhound604 because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 10:37 PM
Great thread! Love comets. I worked with a guy in the mid nineties who was a real hard core amateur astronomer.
He had all the best gear for the time. I was with him the night in '94 when Shoemaker- Levy 9 started slamming into Jupiter and I will never forget some of the views I saw from some very powerful back yard telescopes ! It was amazing. We hung out of and on during the next few years and in 1996 he invited me over to see the comet Hyakutake which at the time really was a spectacular event because it took the interest away temporarily from comet Hale -Bopp which was supposed to be the great comet of that year. But Hyakutake took center stage after it became only one of a few known comets to pass within 0.1 au from Earth catching a lot of people off guard.
Anyways I have a picture that he took of the event and he had it framed for me. I wish i could scan it and maybe you could see it better but I don't have a scanner. So I took a picture of it. Hopefully it comes out ok.
Again great thread ! best of the day.

posted on Feb, 25 2012 @ 02:47 AM
reply to post by mark1167


Very nice photos, especially when you know how hard is to capture the faint light of these celestial objects!!

Nice work!

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