Astronomy Cast

Astronomy Cast takes a fact based journey through the cosmos as it offers listeners weekly discussions on astronomical topics ranging from planets to cosmology.

Comet C/2007 Q3 (Siding Springs)

This comet is further fading in brightness. During mid March a break up was reported by british amateur Nick Howes using the Faulkes Telescope.

C/2007 Q3 (Siding Spring)In our image from April 6 the fragment is not visible. The 14 inch telescope in Weinheim/Germany was used to capture this view. Strong winds and a particularly bad seeing of over 4 arcsec FWHM compromised the image. Q3 is moving slowly through the constellation Draco at a magnitude of around 11. The comet is now heading away from the sun to escape the solar system and never come back. Its visit in the inner solar system sent it on an hyperbolic orbit into interstellar space.
During our last "expedition" in February we imaged the comet with an 6 inch f/2.8 flatfield camera when C/2007 Q3 showed a nearly 2° long tail.