Two comets in one photo

gallery/mcnaught_asassn_2400
gallery/260_n2_d_terkep

I was looking forward to 2019's most spectacular comet meeting. Unfortunately, due to my work and later the state of the cloud, I could only capture the event with a robotic telescope. The comets were only seen together from our Earth, as they were, in fact, millions of kilometers apart.

The 260P/McNaught comet was discovered by Scottish-Australian astronomer Robert H. McNaught. He discovered a total of 82 comets (44 long periods, 26 short periods) and (according to 2016 data) 483 asteroids. The most productive period for wandering heavenly wanderers was between 2005 and 2013. His most famous discovery was probably the C/2006 P1 (McNaught) comet, which, with its brightness around -5 magnitude, could became a comet of the decade in January 2007. 

The 260P/McNaught was first discovered on May 20, 2005. The 17th magnitude comet was named P/2005 K3 (McNaught), because the astronomers calculated only a seven-year orbit. In 2012 it was detected by Martin Masek (Pierre Auger Observatory), and can be seen again in July 2019 under more favorable conditions, as it gets back to the Sun on October 10, 2019. So far, it has been predicted to have a magnitude of 11.8 with maximum brightness, but since it is brighter than expected, it could be up to 11.5 magnitude. The most interesting point for us in the 2019's perihelion was the conjuncting with the C/2018 N2 (ASASSN) comet


On July 7, 2018, the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae discovered the 16.4 magnitude comet. The comet's perihelion is predicted on November 11, 2019, and its brightness will increase slightly compared to its early September state.

Fortunately, both of them had a spectacular dust tail. The 260P/McNaught has a straight, while the C/2018 N2 (ASASSN) has a slight curved dust tail. At the time when the photo was taken, the comets were not at the seemingly closest point to each other, but I was able to capture this later in a much smaller field of view, where details of the coma and tail can be seen.

Name:

260P/McNaught

Constellation:

Aries

Coordinates:

R.A. 02 h 25 m 43 s Dec. 24° 03′ 56″

Type:

Comet

Distance from Sun: 

212 million km

Distance from Earth:

91 million km

Apparent size:

Coma: 1'; tail: 12' (PA: 240°)

Brightness:

12.4m

Sidereal period:

7.07 years

Velocity:

32 km/s

Date:

05/09/2019 17:12-17:34 UT

Total exposure time:

14 minutes

Location:

iTelescope - T12, Siding Spring Observatory, Australia

Camera:

FLI Microline 11002

Telescope:

Takahashi FSQ ED 106/530 mm

Mount:

Paramount PME

Guiding:

-

Corrector:

-

Focal ratio, length:

f/5, 530 mm

ISO:

-

Light:

1 x 300 s Lum, 1 x 180 s R, G, B

Dark:

Calibrated

Flat:

Calibrated

Bias:

Calibrated

Processing:

PixInsight, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop

Location

Annotation

gallery/260psolar

Location in the Solar System

the 260P/McNaught and C/2018 N2 (ASASSN) 05/09/2019 (Robotic)

Main objects: 260P/Mcnaught, c/2018 N2 (ASASSN)

 

Name:

C/2018 N2 (ASASSN)

Constellation:

Aries

Coordinates:

R.A. 02 h 29 m 53 s Dec. 24° 51′ 21″

Type:

Comet

Distance from Sun: 

477 million km

Distance from Earth:

385 million km

Apparent size:

Coma: 2'; tail: 7' (PA: 180°)

Brightness:

12.1m

Sidereal period:

4.5 million years

Velocity:

24 km/s

gallery/mcnaught_asassn_an