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Comet 45P Is Closest to Earth on February 11, 2017

Tuesday, February 7, 2017 5:09
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Comet 45P on February 11 facing north-east at astronomical twilight in the morning as seen for most of Australia. Click to embiggen.

Comet 45P is around magnitude 6.5 and is visible in binoculars and small telescopes in the early morning sky.

It is currently showing as a small fuzzy patch with no hint of a tail.

On February 11 the comet will be closest to Earth and the comet may be seen to move visibly during the morning skies. The comet will be in between the bright star Arcturus and the bright planet Saturn close to the north-eastern horizon just a binocular field below the brightish star ß Herculis (see chart below). On the 13th it will almost be in the centre of the distinctive curved constellation of Corona Borealis


Chart of the track of 45P,  the large circle is the approximate field of view of 10×50 binoculars. Click to embiggen.

It rapidly fades after the 11th and by the end of February it is visible in telescopes only.

A B&W printable spotters map is available here . A B&W printable map suitable for binoculars is available here, the large circle is the approximate field of view of 10×50 binoculars.


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