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Catch Comet 41P Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák At Its Best

20 Mar 2017, 18:59 UTC
Catch Comet 41P Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák At Its Best
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Comet 41P Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák glows green (left) and shows its true coma and just the hint of a stubby tail in the negative (red) image (right) from March 19th. Image credit and copyright: Hisayoshi Kato
Miss out on comet 45P Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková? Is Comet 2P Encke too low in the dawn sky for your current latitude? Well, the Universe is providing us northerners with another shot at a fine binocular comet, as 41P Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák glides through Ursa Major this week.
As seen from 30 degrees north, Comet 41P Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák (sometimes called “Comet 41P” or “Comet TGK”) starts the last week of March about 40 degrees above the NE horizon at 9PM local. It then makes the plunge below 30 degrees elevation on April 1st for the same latitude at the same time. At its closest on April 5th, the comet will be moving at two degrees a day (the width of four Full Moons!) as seen from the Earth as it slides down through the snaky constellation of Draco.
The path of Comet 41P from March 20th through April 20th. Credit: Starry Night.
The comet reaches an elevation of 10 degrees for evening viewers around April 15th, and passes 10 degrees north ...

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