Astronomical Events

We conclude our observations of comet 46P/Wirtanen with December 2018 images taken on the 2-m HCT, Hanle,
and on the 1.3-m JCBT, Kavalur.

The comet has reached the perihelion on December 12, 2018. The movie of the comet motion was made from 51
R-band frames, each of 6 sec, taken on December 13, 2018.

The RGB image is a combination of frames taken in R, V and B filters, each of ~180 sec exposure, and aligned on
the comet's optocentre. The comet frames were taken with the non-sidereal tracking of the comet.

HCT: Margarita Safonova, Kiran B. S. and Rakesh C. M.
JCBT: Ayaush Keshava and Venkatesh Shankar.
Image manipulations: Rekhesh Mohan (movie) and Bharat Chandra (RGB).

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This 600 sec R-band frame was taken in the Keystone mode of the HCT with non-sidereal tracking - where the comet stays in the centre and the stars trail. The saturated star in the image is the 8th V mag star Tyc 6431-211-1. The Keystone mode-compatible files have been generated by Firoza Sutaria using the ephemeris data for the comet from NASA JPL.

Observers: Margarita Safonova, Binukumar Nair and Kiran B.S.


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The following images of the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner were taken on October 09, 2018 in three bands: R, V and B. The comet
is moving away from the Sun and is currently at a distance of 1.3 AU from the Sun, getting fainter.

Observers: Margarita Safonova, Binukumar Nair and Kiran B.S.


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The following images of comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner and comet 46P/Wirtanen were taken in September 2018 on the HCT, IIA.

21P/G-Z is a periodic Jupiter family comet with period of ~6.54 years. It is the parent to the annual October Draconid meteor shower. The perihelion occurred this year on September 10th and was the closest for the last >70 years. This comet is called a green comet because some images show the comet's coma/tail as a green colour indicating the comet has cyanogen and diatomic carbon: gases that glow green in sunlight. This RGB image is a combination of frames taken in R, V and B Bessel filter, each of 20 sec exposure, and aligned on the comet's optocentre.

46P/Wirtanen is also a Jupiter family comet with period of about 5-6 years. It will reach perihelion on December 12, 2018, and perigee on December 16, and is expected to reach naked eye brightness: visual magnitude of 3.5 to 6. This passage of comet Wirtanen near the Earth will be the 10th closest approach of a comet in modern times. These two images are taken on 10th and 20th September 2018, with R-band 60 and 40 sec exposure, respectively.

These comets are observed as part of world-wide 4*P Coma Morphology Campaign (http://www.psi.edu/41P45P46P), organized by the Planetary Science Institute, looking for the features like jets, outflows as well as rotation of the nucleus, etc.

Observers: Margarita Safonova and Kiran B. S.

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Following images of comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak were taken on 31st March 2017 with the Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT) at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) at Hanle, by Dr. Margarita Safonova and Mayuresh Sarpotdar, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore.

18:00:41.00UT, 5 sec, R band single exposure.
Observers: Margarita Safonova, Mayuresh Sarpotdar and Pramod Kumar

Comet movie made out of 10 5-sec R band exposures.
Observers: Margarita Safonova, Mayuresh Sarpotdar and Pramod Kumar

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Milky Way in August 2015

Milky Way Observed from Kodaikanal Solar Observatory, using DSLR Camera (D5200)
Observers & Photographers: Ramya Anche & Mayuresh Sarpotdar
ISO : 3200
F# : 3.2
Exposure : 13 sec
Stack of 50 frames of 13 seconds each. Total exposure : 10 mins 50 seconds.



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Nova Sagittarii 2015 No. 2
28 March 2015

Nova Sagittarii 2015 No. 2 Observed from IIA Bangalore, using digital Cameras ( Canon SX 150 and Canon 1100D)
Observers were: Prasanna Deshmukh & Mayuresh Sarpotdar



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Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2
11 Jan 2015

Comet Lovejoy Observed from IIA Bangalore, using digital Cameras ( Canon SX 150 )
Observers were: Prasanna Deshmukh, Joice Mathew, Mayuresh Sarpotdar



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Comet Siding Spring
October 2014

Comet images taken on 18th October 2014, Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT), as part of the world-wide campaign to monitor comet's encounter with Mars.
Observers were: Sreejith, Joice, Mayuresh, Pramod; Ephemeris calculations: Firoza Sutaria; Data Reduction: Margarita Safonova; PI: Jayant Murthy.

Above image was processed by image enhancement technique by Nalin Samarasinha (Planetary Science Institute, USA) to extract the underlying features.



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Comet ISON
September 2013

C/2012 S1, also known as Comet ISON, is a sungrazing comet discovered on 21 September 2012 by Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok . The discovery was made using the 0.4-meter (16 in) reflector of the International Scientific Optical Network near Kislovodsk, Russia and the automated asteroid-discovery program CoLiTec. Precovery images by the Mount Lemmon Survey from 28 December 2011 and by Pan-STARRS from 28 January 2012 were quickly located. Follow-up observations were made on 22 September by a team from Remanzacco Observatory in Italy using the iTelescope network. The discovery was announced by the Minor Planet Center on 24 September. Observations by SWIFT suggest that C/2012 S1's nucleus is around 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) in diameter.

C/2012 S1 will come to perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on 28 November 2013 at a distance of 0.012 AU (1,800,000 km) from the center point of the Sun. Its trajectory is nearly parabolic, which suggests that it may be a dynamically new comet coming freshly from the Oort cloud. On its closest approach, C/2012 S1 will pass about 0.0724 AU (10,830,000 km) from Mars on 1 October 2013, and it will pass about 0.429 AU (64,200,000 km) from Earth on 26 December 2013.


  • COMET ISON Images from 1.3m Telescope at Vainu Bappu Observatory (VBO), Kavalur, India


  • Comet ISON Images from Himalayan ChandraTelescope (HCT) at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO), Hanle

  • Comet ISON Movies from Himalayan ChandraTelescope (HCT) at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO), Hanle

  • Useful links on Comet ISON

  • Eyes on ISON Campaign, India

  • Your Guide to Track ISON Comet: (BangaloreMirror article)
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    Comet ISON
    19 Nov 2013

    Comet ISON Observed from IIA Bangalore, using digital Cameras ( Canon SX 150 )
    Observers were: Prasanna Deshmukh, Ramya Manjunath, Mayuresh Sarpotdar


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