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Comet 13P/Olbers Approaches Perihelion. Here’s How and When to Watch It

Comet 13P/Olbers Approaches Perihelion. Here’s How and When to Watch It

Tomorrow, June 30, 2024, it will reach perihelion (the location in its orbit closest to the Sun). Kite 13 F / OlbersIt was discovered by the German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers on March 6, 1815. It is one of the oldest and most studied periodic comets, and belongs to the Halley comet family.

13P/Olbers has an orbital period of about 69 years, so it reappears regularly in Earth’s sky. Its eccentric orbit takes it to great distances from the Sun, beyond the orbit of Neptune, and then closer again, making it visible from Earth.

Thanks to its core composed of ice, dust and rocky material, the comet evolves Very bright hair and tail As it approaches the Sun, scientific observations by 13P/Olbers reveal the presence of compounds such as water, carbon monoxide, methane and ammonia, providing important clues about the origin and evolution of the solar system. Furthermore, the study of dust particles emitted from the nucleus has enriched our understanding of the interactions between comets and the solar wind.

Where and how do we notice it?

According to estimates, the magnitude of 13P/Olbers near perihelion should reach about 6.5 and thus become visible with the help of a small telescope or binoculars.

However, comets are known to exist Very unpredictable natureWhich makes them particularly fascinating celestial objects to study. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account its brightness in the coming days It may not match what you expectedAs it approaches the Sun, and due to the intense pressure exerted on the nucleus, the comet can disintegrate, with a consequent decrease in size.

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In the case of comets that are not bright enough to be seen with the naked eye, a telescope can certainly help us observe the coma of gas and dust that surrounds the nucleus. These days it can be observed Just after sunset, just above the horizon, in the constellation Lynx.Thanks to sites like The Sky Life You can track its location in the sky in real time, so you can easily find it.

13P/Olbers’ path across the sky (June-July). Credits: Vito Technology, Inc.

You may be interested in -> The Complete Guide to Choosing a Telescope

How to photograph it?

To further study this comet, Astrophotography It is the key to being able to see even the faintest details of this celestial being.

To photograph a comet, you need a telescope, a robotic compass capable of compensating for the Earth’s rotation, and a camera. Usually special cameras with cooled sensors are used, but even a simple reflex can give excellent satisfaction.

If you don’t have a telescope, even with just a camera, you can take wide-field images of the sky. If the comet has a long enough tail, you can get some great photos that way too.

For comparison, see the article below connection It is possible to see some of the best images of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks with an explanation of the techniques used to create them.

Here instead we tell all the comets of 2024 -> 2024 will be the year of comets. Here because

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