APOD: Comet Catalina Emerges (2015 Dec 07)

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APOD: Comet Catalina Emerges (2015 Dec 07)

Postby APOD Robot » Mon Dec 07, 2015 5:08 am

Image Comet Catalina Emerges

Explanation: Comet Catalina is ready for its close-up. The giant snowball from the outer Solar System, known formally as C/2013 US10 (Catalina), rounded the Sun last month and is now headed for its closest approach to Earth in January. With the glow of the Moon now also out of the way, morning observers in Earth's northern hemisphere are getting their best ever view of the new comet. And Comet Catalina is not disappointing. Although not as bright as early predictions, the comet is sporting both dust (lower left) and ion (upper right) tails, making it an impressive object for binoculars and long-exposure cameras. The featured image was taken last week from the Canary Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa. Sky enthusiasts around the world will surely be tracking the comet over the next few months to see how it evolves.

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FLPhotoCatcher
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Re: APOD: Comet Catalina Emerges (2015 Dec 07)

Postby FLPhotoCatcher » Mon Dec 07, 2015 5:50 am

My first thought when I saw the photo was, "That's no comet!"
I suppose the reason the comet's tail points (apparently) in almost opposite directions is perspective. So they are probably both pointing toward Earth, with only a few degrees separating them.

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Re: APOD: Comet Catalina Emerges (2015 Dec 07)

Postby Chris Peterson » Mon Dec 07, 2015 6:07 am

FLPhotoCatcher wrote:My first thought when I saw the photo was, "That's no comet!"
I suppose the reason the comet's tail points (apparently) in almost opposite directions is perspective. So they are probably both pointing toward Earth, with only a few degrees separating them.

The dust tail points generally back along the orbital path, the ion trail points away from the Sun. The comet is in a retrograde, highly inclined orbit. It just crossed the ecliptic, so the ion tail is approximately coplanar with the ecliptic, the dust trail descends south of it. The two tails are widely separated.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Comet Catalina Emerges (2015 Dec 07)

Postby Ann » Mon Dec 07, 2015 7:47 am

Chris just explained how these things work. :yes:

Check out another comet here that had two widely separated tails. Comet Garradd was Astronomy Picture of the Day on February 4, 2012.

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Re: APOD: Comet Catalina Emerges (2015 Dec 07)

Postby Ron-Astro Pharmacist » Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:24 pm

It's always a great time to have a comet zoom into our view of the universe around the new year. I liked this link to Sky and Telescope better although the one provided was a bit more recent.

These are nice to leave on the counter to know where to look each night if one is lucky enough to have a clear view. New Year's Day (night) looks pretty great for photographers and for those comet trackers who need a good landmark.
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Re: APOD: Comet Catalina Emerges (2015 Dec 07)

Postby BillBixby » Mon Dec 07, 2015 7:00 pm

Wow! Beautiful picture. F. H. Hemmerich has done a wonderful job capturing this image IMHO. Today's APOD goes into my saved photos collection. Ann, thank you for the link showing the previous wide tailed image. Both wonderful pictures and so different in colors.

Is the difference in the colors due to the handling of the image photograph or angle and composition of the comet? Or both and angle from the sun as viewed from Earth.

Again, thank you to all contributors to APOD for sharing your knowledge with everyone interested in looking up.

Bill

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Re: APOD: Comet Catalina Emerges (2015 Dec 07)

Postby starsurfer » Mon Dec 07, 2015 7:03 pm

FLPhotoCatcher wrote:My first thought when I saw the photo was, "That's no comet!"

Click to play embedded YouTube video.

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Re: APOD: Comet Catalina Emerges (2015 Dec 07)

Postby Boomer12k » Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:38 am

More gloom, doom, and disaster.....great....

Nice Image...hope to get a look at it by January...but weather is dreadful here in Oregon at the moment....rain, rain, rain...or brutally cold... :cry:

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Re: APOD: Comet Catalina Emerges (2015 Dec 07)

Postby Ann » Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:02 am

Boomer12k wrote:More gloom, doom, and disaster.....great....

Nice Image...hope to get a look at it by January...but weather is dreadful here in Oregon at the moment....rain, rain, rain...or brutally cold... :cry:

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What you said, Boomer.

So far it hasn't been brutally cold here in southernmost Sweden, but it's been overcast and rainy almost all the time.

Where is the umbrella smiley? Okay, here it is. Image

Ann
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