Monday, October 20, 2014

Comet C2013 A1 (Siding Spring) approaches Mars - LIVE COVERAGE

Well finally the day we have all waited for has arrived. Here is our live coverage of the Comet approaching Mars just 6-7 hours before closest approach. Enjoy! [Also see here an earlier post: Where the hell is Siding Spring Anyway?]

Can you spot it?

Here is the high resolution inverse image in the V filter where its a little easier to see!

Perhaps my personal favourite!

This is a great image as it shows Comet Siding Spring dead center of the image (and dead center of the telescope mirror) with the overexposed Mars just off center and the "shadow" of the telescope truss and secondary vanes reflected in the extra light of Mars. The "Red Planet" Mars is brighter here in the R Filter.

Here is a short blinking video of the movement of both Mars and the Comet against the background stars. It consists of 5 images from the R filter and 3 from the V. Interestingly you can also see a cosmic ray hitting the CCD between the COmet and Mars in the first image of the 3 V filter images.


Image credits: P.Lake Q62 T31 120 secs

And as Comet Siding Spring moves through perihelion it continues to fade. My view is that it didn't get close enough to the sun for some serious action, I guess when all the data is in we'll know more. Certainly though, it has been variously described as once in a million year event. The MAVEN Team at NASA will be rejoiceing in all that "free data" that showed up as the team were getting ready to lauch their mission.

Thanks for joining us on this brilliant journey!

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