Comet Captured

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While not spectacular, C2009 P1 Garradd is one of the brightest comets visible during the summer of 2011  From some dark skies in the rural area and a pair of binoculars, this solar system visitor should be visible.  Currently at magnitude ~8, the comet will brighten during the month of August.

This image is a composite of images totaling 11 minutes taken on 2011-08-05 between 04:18 and 04:24 UT using the 0.4m telescope. Note the faint, but broad dust trail that flows below the coma (head) of the comet.

On 2011.08.27 UT, the comet passed within 15 arc minutes of the globular cluster M 71 in Sagitta.  The two brightest, reddish stars (upper left and lower right) are 3.5 magnitude Gamma (12) Sge and 3.8 agnitude Delta (7) Sge, respectively.

Canon 450 XSI, 5 minutes @ ISO 200 through Meade 80 mm APO + Televue 0.8x focal reducer/field flattener (f/4.8). Dark subtracted, color balanced using G5 star in same field, slight adjustment to curves to tease out more of the comet's tail.