Comet Breakup!

Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 09:29 am EDT

Contributed by: tricks46

On June 12th, 2005, as usual, I was imaging comets. I had two comets which I wanted and a third if possible before it became lost in the horizonal muck. I started with 9P/Tempel 1 and found a comet not changed. Hopefully the smack of the impactor will change that. I then slew to a new comet. C/2005 K2 was discovered on May 19th, 2005 (I think) and has been breaking the brightness rules ever since. The close position to Earth has the comet moving very fast and it never seems to be where it is listed to be. I took a series of images on 06/12/2005 and after combining found a small extention in the same area as the Ion tail was to be found.

I asked some questions but received no response with these images. Then on the 14th in the afternoon the first reports that I saw started coming in of a possible split. It was early afternoon here so I started planning my attack. The Moon was a factor but after taking 23 - 45 second images and doing a combine I had what I was after. It was a real thrill to be able to image a comet in the process of splitting. To think that a 4" Refractor and ccd camera in Van Buren could record such an event just flips my trigger. Here is the comet fragmented from the 14th at about 10:30 pm local central time. Thanks, Mike Holloway

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