On October 2, 2017, a comet discovered by the Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope And Rapid Response System) sky survey program. The comet was faint (19.9 magnitude). It was 1.27 billion km from Earth and 1.38 billion km from the Sun at the time of its discovery. Comet activity tends to get much closer to the sun, so its discovery and appearance are rare.
The comet with high absolute magnitude will be at perihelion on May 4, 2020. It's will be 241 million kilometers (1.615 AU) away from our star, but unfortunately, the closest distance to our planet was on December 28, 2019, due to its curvature, it was 227 million kilometers (1.517 AU). However, at the time of writing these lines, this comet seems to be the most spectacular celestial wanderer of 2020. Observing from the Northern Hemisphere It's will be a circumpolar object in the spring months, and of course based on its recent activity, we can expect a nice tail.
The comet featured one of the most beautiful conjunction of its celestial path on January 26 and 27, 2020, with the famous Double Cluster in the constellation Perseus (NGC 869, NGC 884). The winter cloudy season caught me, so I was only able to capture the comet a week later. Unfortunately, it was further away from the clusters but It was acceptable for my plan. I started shooting on the 1st of February in the evening, but despite the excellent transparency, there were a lot of hindrances. In addition to the light pollution of the Moon, which was almost 50% illuminated and 48 degrees away from the comet, I also had to contend with a stormy wind. Even though the small and relatively stable system, unfortunately, it often disrupted the guiding, so with an improvised windshield system and using myself as a windshield, I tried to dampen the gusts - fortunately successfully.
I tried to use medium shutter speeds for exposures, although the comet's slow self-movement could withstand longer exposure times, unfortunately due to the moon's light I couldn't. The comet has a 5' coma and 8' long dust tail (this is difficult to determine precisely due to the Moon). The comet's coma and tail are separable and very spectacular. The distinctive green color is due to the two-atom carbon molecules.
The dominant object in the lower left corner of the photo is the Double Cluster. The open clusters NGC 869 and NGC 884 are known as super bright star clusters of about 300-350 stars and about 5,000 solar masses each. Because they are made up of relatively few stars, so few stars are super-large. The clusters are approaching towards us at 38 km/s, but of course there is no cause for concern as they are 7600 light-years from us. The distance between the clusters is approximately 100 light-years.
This photo was taken with the support of the Nation's Young Talent Scholarship, announced by Ministry of Human Resources, the Human Resources Support Manager and the National Talent Program.
C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS)
R.A. 02 h 15 m 13 s Dec. +58° 02′ 21″
Distance from Sun:
304 million km
Distance from Earth:
244 million km
Coma: 5'; tail: 8' (PA 135°)
01/02/2020 19:12-20:57 UT
Total exposure time:
Tápióbicske, Pest, Hungary
Canon EOS 1300D (modified)
Sky-Watcher Esprit 80/400 mm apochromatic refractor
Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro GoTo
Sky-Watcher Field Flattener
Focal ratio, length:
f/5, 400 mm
19 x 180 s
Astro Pixel Processor, PixInsight, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop
Double Cluster, NGC 869, NGC 884, C14
R.A. 02 h 20 m 23 s Dec. +57° 09′ 05″
3.7m (NGC 869) and 3.8m (NGC 884)
Number of stars:
300 stars in each cluster
Autumn and winter