Comet 46P/Wirtanen

December 13, 2018

Comet_46p (1)

Photographer: Dimitrios Deligeorgopoulos
Summary Author: Dimitrios Deligeorgopoulos 

Comet 46P/Wirtanen is featured here over the mountains in the Evrytanía region of central Greece. It's the bluish spot at top center -- closeup is at bottom left. This photo was captured with a 6-inch telescope on December 7, 2018. The 2013 perihelion passage of Comet 46P/Wirtanen wasn't particularly favorable for viewing, only reaching a magnitude of 14.7. Now, however, its elongation (angular distance from the Sun in the sky) is less than 20 degrees and therefore it's relatively bright.

On December 16, 2018, the comet will pass 0.0774 au (7,190,000 mi or 11,580,000 km) from Earth, reaching an estimated magnitude of 4.2 making this pass the brightest one predicted and the brightest close approach for the next 20 years. Its magnitude could peak as bright as 3 near its December 16, 2018, closest approach.

Photo Details: Wide-camera capture: Nikon D-7000 camera; Tokina 16mm lens; f/2.8; 5X20 seconds exposure(Dithering); ISO 2500. Telescope capture: Gso rc6; Atik 16 hr; 21X120 seconds exposure; Heq5 pro.