Meet up with comet 19P/Borrelly – Astronomy Now

Comet 19P/Borrelly imaged on 1 January because it tracked by way of the celebs of south-western Cetus. Picture: Michael Jäger and Lukas Demetz.

Comet 19P/Borrelly is presently the brightest and finest trying comet on present at mid-northern latitudes. It passes by way of perihelion passage on Tuesday, 1 February, when it lies round 195.4 million kilometres (1.306 AU) from the Solar. The comet got here closest to Earth on 11 December 2021, at a distance of 175.7 million kilometres (1.17 AU).

The 6.9-year elliptically-shaped orbit of Comet 19P/Borrelly sees it loop out past the orbit of Jupiter and simply inside Mars’ orbit. The comet’s place is marked for perihelion on 1 February. AN graphic by Greg Smye-Rumsby.

Comet 19P/Borrelly is a periodic comet (denoted by the ‘P’ in its official designation) that takes about 6.9 years to orbit the Solar. In September 2021 the Deep Area 1 spacecraft famously visited the comet, beaming again high-resolution pictures exhibiting the comet formed like a rooster leg throughout its 8 x 4 x 4 kilometre kind. Comet 19P/Borrelly is classed a ‘Jupiter-family comet’, described as short-period comets (orbital intervals lower than 20 years) whose present orbits are influenced by Jupiter’s large gravitational attraction. Comet 19P/Borrelly was found by Alphonse Louis Nicolas Borrelly on 28 December 1904 in Marseille, France.

Comet 19P/Borrelly is a night object in February, monitoring north-eastwards by way of Pisces and into Aries. AN graphic by Greg Smye-Rumsby.

Comet 19P/Borrelly is shining at round magnitude +9, probably its peak brightness at this return, although some visible estimates have it about half a magnitude brighter. Deep pictures present Borrelly sports activities a traditional green-hued coma, round 8 to 10 arcminutes in diameter, and a pleasant tail with faint extensions fanning out so far as half a level or extra. Nonetheless, current pictures of the magnificent tail of Comet 2021 A1 (Leonard) make Borrelly’s look feeble as compared! Visually by way of telescopes within the 200–250mm (eight- to ten-inch) class, estimates of the diameter of the coma vary from between 3 to six arcminutes, with a tail size of round 5 to eight arcminutes.

Comet 19P/Borrelly imaged from Farm Tivoli, Namibia, southern Africa, on 4 January. Picture: Gerald Rhemann.

Sadly, Comet 19P/Borrelly is out of vary of 10 x 50 binoculars, although on a effective, moonless night a small- to medium-aperture telescope ought to decide it up because it tracks steadily north-eastwards by a few diploma per day by way of the celebs of south-west Pisces. On early evenings this week astronomical twilight ends shortly earlier than 7pm GMT in London, at which era Comet 19P/Borrelly lies effectively up within the south-west, skirting simply east of magnitude +4.8 mu Piscium. You’ve acquired a few two-hour observing window to seek out and observe it earlier than it turns into too low for consolation previous to setting between about 11pm to 11.15pm. Comet 19P/Borrelly enters Aries on 10 February.

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