Comet 81/P WIld
Comet 81/P Wild

Comet Wild 2 is a short periodic comet with an orbital period of 6 years. Before its close encounter with Jupiter during September 1974 his orbit was almost circular and had a 43 year period. But the gravitational pull of the giant gas planet made Wild 2 to a member of the inner solar system. In 2004 the comet was target of the NASA mission "Stardust", which took samples of the coma and returned them back to earth. Our image was obtained during a trip to southern france in February 2010 and shows a nice 1 degree long tail.

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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.