Comet C/2015 V2 (Johnson) heads for closest approach to Earth (June 5)
Monday, May 22, 2017 at 10:05PM
Ian Musgrave in Alerts, Comet, Comets, alert

Path of comet C/2015 V2 (Johnson) as it heads for its closts approach to Earth. The image shows the orientation when the comet transits the meridian (around midnight local Mayhill time). The small square is the field of view of T05 and the large that of T13. Click to embiggen.

While attention has been focussed on 41P and the outbursts of 29P, comet C/2015 V2 has been quietly sneaking up on us.

In almost two weeks time on June 5, the comet will be closest to us at 0.81 AU. The comet is currently running about a magnitude dimmer than predicted, and is around magnitude 8. Still quite bright by cometary standards. It will only brighten trivially between now and closest approach.

The comet is in Bootes, gliding up towards Arcturus, unfortunately it does not come close to anything really interesting, but the background stars are quite attractive. The comet has a small but distinctive comma shaped dust tail, and a very thin, hard to image ion tail.

The comet is best imaged from the northern scopes, where it is imagable all night long, and highest around midnight, where it is almost at the zenith.

From SSO, the comet is only within the reach for the scopes from between around 10 pm to 12:30 am local time, highest at 11 pm local time.

The MPEC one line ephemeris is:

    CK15V020  2017 06 12.3448  1.636975  1.001739  164.8968   69.8517   49.8750  20170216   5.0  4.0      C/2015 V2 (Johnson)

 

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