From the end of September to the end of October, the highly active comet 103P/Hartley – or Hartley 2 – can be observed using a telescope, telescope or astronomical imager, if suitable weather conditions exist. The French Astronomical Society invites the curious to measure the brightness of the comet from home, to advance scientific research. How to achieve this in Lorraine and Franche-Comté? We will explain everything to you.
05:00 | Updated at 11:30 p.m
For the first time in six and a half years, it will be possible to observe Comet Hartley 2 until the end of October. As it approaches the Sun (it will be closest to our star on October 12), the comet’s icy core transitions directly from a solid state to a gaseous state and forms a trail of dust.
Since it would be “only” about sixty million kilometers from Earth at the same time, telescopes and other astronomical observing devices would make it possible to capture this scene.
Astronomers need your help to study this comet
The event is interesting in more than one way in the case of “Hartley 2.” This small comet (its peanut-like core is only two kilometers in diameter, compared to 10 kilometers in general), which was discovered in 1986, has not yet revealed all its secrets.
It is particularly called “hyperactive,” because it releases more gas than a star of its size generally does. Astronomers hope to discover more about the topic thanks to your feedback: through evaluation The comet shineswill be able to let astronomers help them “analyze the activities” of Hartley 2.
When can you improve your chances of seeing him in Lorraine and Franche-Comté?
“She can’t be seen easily!” » warns AstroNico, member of the Astronomy Club of Amnéville-les-Thermes (Moselle), videographer, and consulting technician at an astronomy equipment store in Alsace. “Its small size and volume is estimated at 8
It cannot be seen with the naked eye. “It will be visible with large instruments… and only if observing conditions improve.” [et que la météo est dégagée]Currently, the full moon phase in the last week of September makes the skies too clear to observe well. Within a few days it can improve. “In reality, we cannot predict the comet’s activity and therefore its brightness. But if it has a flurry of activity starting next week
“We are not immune from getting a nice surprise.” All observations are in no way of interest to the French Astronomical Society, which created them Tutorial for evaluating comet brightness
How do you find a comet in the sky?
Point the telescope east, after midnight. The comet’s position will change as the month progresses: it will be between the constellations Kosher and Gemini in the first part of the month, near the stars Castor and Pollux. It is distinguished by its color Slightly bluish
For visible celestial objects in the surrounding area. For more details, visit the website The sky is alive
It allows you to determine the location of the comet in real time, depending on the time and your location. *there Magnitude
It is a non-uniform measure of the brightness of a celestial body. It ranges from -27 (the brightness of the Sun) to 32 (the faintest object visible by the Hubble Space Telescope). A celestial body can be seen with the naked eye at less than 6 degrees. The “point” of deviation changes the brightness by a factor of 2.5. Sirius, the brightest star visible in the night sky, has a magnitude of -1.46.
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