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 brightness came close to the sun (perihelion) on May 4, 2020, about 241 million kilometers (1.615 AU) from our central star, but due to its orbital deflection, unfortunately, as early as December 28, 2019, it was 227 million kilometers (1.517 AU). away from Earth. As I write these lines, it seems that we can look at it as the most stable comet of the year 2020. For several months, the comet, which can be detected with a brightness between 8-9 magnitudes, was observed in Hungary in the spring months as a circumpolar object.
The comet made one of the most beautiful assemblages of its celestial path from Earth on January 26/27, 2020 with the famous Double Cluster (NGC 869, NGC 884), which I also managed to capture on February 1st. The weather was not favorable then, as it is now, at the other spectacular depth-object encounter, that is, during the approach of the M81/M82 galaxy pair at the end of May. Unfortunately, we missed the tightest approach from Hungary due to the weather.
The largest of the "static" objects of the conjunction is the Messier 81 spiral galaxy, discovered in 1774 by Johann Elert Bode. The galaxy is 12 million light-years from us, with a diameter of 90,000 light-years. To its right is the Messier 82 galaxy (also known as the Cigar Galaxy). It is an irregularly shaped star city and one of the best-known starburst galaxies, that is, a galaxy in which the rate of star formation is orders of magnitude higher than average. For an overall picture, it is essential to mention the 10.6 magnitude brightness NGC 3077 elliptical galaxy, which has collided with the aforementioned two galaxies in the past. The almost two-hour exposure has already attracted a very faint cloud of dust and gas at the edge of our Milky Way, which experts call Integrated Flux Nebula. The hazy, foggy appearance of the background is due to this.
Image processing took longer than usual. It was difficult to find the dynamic balance between the comet-galaxy-background triad. Interestingly, the comet also had a faint antitail, which became really spectacular in the days after shooting.
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. 09 h 51 m 27 s Dec. +71° 03′ 51″
Distance from Sun:
244 million km
Distance from Earth:
249 million km
Coma: 6'; tails: 27' and 8' (PA 270° and PA 90°)
21/05/2020 21:29-23:44 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
37 x 180 s
Astro Pixel Processor, PixInsight, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop