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A Couple of Comets

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Here are two relatively ‘bright’ comets that are around at the moment – both currently in the constellation of Andromeda. Bright for CCD imaging that is! The comets are called 168P Hergenrother and 260P McNaught.

It’s not easy to produce beautifully smooth images of comets and the stars and sky around them. This is¬†because the comets are moving, albeit slowly, against the background stars. So, to produce a decent image, one must take several¬†exposures of a minute or two and then stack them on the bright head of the comet. This produces start-trails and the images look a bit noisy because the normal averaging effect on the background is lost.