ALERT! Comet 41P is at Perihelion
Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 10:28PM
Ian Musgrave in Alerts, Comet, Comet 41P, Comets, alert

Comet 41P as seen from Mayhill New Mexico at midnight local time (transit is at 4:16 pm Daylight savings time). The large rectangle is the field of view to T20 and 14. Click to embiggen.

Comet 41P, which has been forgotten a bit in the excitement over C/2017 E4 and C/2015 ER61, was at perihelion on April 12, at 18:03 UT. At this time it was 0.1540 AU (23.0 million km) from the Earth.

Currently the comet is reported to be visually magnitude 6.7-7.5, which will make imaging this comet straight forward. In some previous visits of the comet there have been significant outbursts around this time, so it is well worth monitoring.

It is now moving more sedately past perhelion, but star trailing will still be an issue in longer exposures. The comet is currently a fuzzy ball, with a hint of a tail.

 The comet is passing through Draco heading towards Hercules (not far from comet C/2015 V2 Johnson). On the 14th, 15th and 16th it is within 4 degrees of  the magnitude 10 Draco Dwarf galaxy and will be a good target for the wide-field T14 and T20 with some mosaic assembly required. Unfortunately the waning Moon will interfere in the late evening early morning, but the comet will be within T14 and T20 travel range by around 10pm.

On the 18th the fading comet is close (31') to magnitude 3 Beta Draconis. On the 24th the comet is within 45' of the magnitude 13 galaxy NGC 6524.

The MPEC one line ephemeris is:

0041P         2017 04 12.7518  1.045048  0.661094   62.1502  141.0731    9.2298  20170216  10.0 16.0    41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak

Article originally appeared on Remote Internet Telescope Network - Online Imaging & Telescope Hosting Service (http://www.itelescope.net/).
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