Author Topic: Look Up! Grab Your Binoculars to See a Newfound Comet  (Read 32 times)

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Mike

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A newfound comet is putting on a show in the night sky now, and you should be able to see it with a pair of binoculars.

The comet C/2017 O1 ASAS-SN might be one of the brighter ones that has come our way over the past several years, and it's currently favorably placed for Northern Hemisphere observers in the late-night sky.

For much of October, O1 ASAS-SN is anticipated to be about magnitude +8, possibly brightening to +7, both of which are below naked-eye visibility but easily observable in binoculars or small telescopes. [Best Night Sky Events of October 2017 (Stargazing Maps)]

The comet was first seen on July 19 by the All Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) system at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, which explains its unusual moniker. The survey's main task is to keep watch for exploding stars, but in the course of its regular imaging of the night sky, it occasionally runs across other objects. This is the first time that the ASAS-SN has discovered a comet.

C/2017 O1 ASAS-SN is currently moving on a northward path. After the comet was found in the constellation Cetus (The Whale), it passed just to the west of the stars of Eridanus (The River) in early August and then up into Taurus (The Bull) by late August. Around Sept. 20, it passed almost midway between the two famous open star clusters in Taurus — the V-shaped Hyades and the Pleiades, popularly known as the "Seven Sisters."

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