Comet 21/P Giacobini-Zinner

September 19, 2018

Comet21P_Capella_300mm5minstackedChumackHRweb2 (1)

Comet21P_090218_nuc1ChumackLRweb (1)

Photographer: John Chumack
Summary Author: John Chumack 

Featured above is the periodic comet 21/P Giacobini-Zinner. This wide-angle view shows it as it passed by the bright star Capella in the constellation Auriga, during the early morning hours of September 3, 2018. In early September it was a 7th magnitude object, easily visible through binoculars in the northeast sky (Northern Hemisphere). Moonlight interfered with my view, so I used by observatory dome to block out as much stray light as possible. Note the faint dust tail stretching out roughly 1 to 1.25 degrees of sky.

The bottom photo shows a close up of 21/p's nucleus and its overlapping dust and ion tails (at far right). It was taken using my telescope rather than the telescopic lens of my camera.

Photo Details: Top - Canon 6D DSLR camera; Sigma 150 mm to 600 mm lens, set to 300 mm; F5.6; ISO 1250; 5 minute exposure. Bottom - Celestron C6 Newtonian Telescope; ZWO 174MM Cooled Mono Cmos Camera; 16.6 minutes of exposure; 100 x 10-second subs; taken September 2, 2018.