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Comet 103P Hartley

Comet 103P Hartley was discovered on 15 March 1986 by Malcolm Hartley of the UK Schmidt Telescope Unit, Siding Spring Observatory, New South Wales, Australia, at magnitude 17-18.  It currently has a period of 6.1 years.  The 2010 apparition is exceptional, the comet passing within 0.12 AU of Earth, and NASA's EPOXI mission conducted a successful fly-by of the comet on 4 November 2010.
 
Ephemeris & orbital elements:
 
 
Seiichi Yoshida's catalogue information:
 
 
History of 103P:
 
 
EPOXI mission home page:
 
 
Image of 103P taken at closest approach, using the MRI camera (credit: NASA)
 
 
 
"Spot the Comet"
Comet 103P Hartley as a tiny green patch lost in a dense starfield, 27 December 2010:
 2.36MB download
 
And again on 29 December 2010!
1.24MB download
Click on images to enlarge...
 
 
Comet 103P Hartley, moving between open clusters M46 and M47.
13:15, 28 November 2010 UT. 
Piggybacked Canon 400D, 105mm, 6 x 120 sec, ISO 1600, F/4.5
 
 
Comet 103P Hartley imaged at just after the EPOXI mission fly-by time on 4 November 2010.
 
 At last a good opportunity came around to image the comet in clear, Moon-free skies on 1 November 2010.  Canon 400D, 105mm, 5x80sec + 2x100sec, ISO 1600, F/5.6.  14:50 UT.
 
Here is the full-frame - 103P lost in a dense starfield!
 
 
Comet 103P Hartley, imaged through cloud bands at 12:23, 29 October 2010 UT.  This was the first real opportunity after about nine days to observe the comet free of moonlight.  Low cloud in the NE spoiled the opportunity, and I was surprised that the comet showed so strongly through the cloud.  The bright star is Alhena (Gamma Geminorum).
 
 
103P was basically a northern object as it brightened rapidly, but in October 2010 it began to rise again in southern skies.  From my location, it was always going to be difficult to image the comet in dark skies around this time with a large waxing moon moving back, low altitude and a particularly poor run of weather.  An opportunity came on the morning of 19 October and I managed a few subs before rising mist ended the session.
 
17:18, 19 October 2010 UT.  Piggybacked Canon 400D, 55mm, 2 x 90 sec at ISO 1600, F/5.6
 
 19 October 2010.  Medium crop.
 
 
19 October 2010.  Full frame (reduced size) 
 
 
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