Photo of the Week for August 25, 2018
It’s been a while since we’ve been able to enjoy a decent binocular comet—and now the wait appears to be over. Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner is currently moving through the dim constellation Camelopardalis, and heading southeast as it slowly brightens. On September 2 it will sit roughly 1 degree from zero-magnitude Capella, the brightest star in Auriga. At its peak, Giacobini-Zinner should glow at around magnitude 7, which will make it a fine target for binoculars under a dark sky. Best of all, the comet’s path in September takes it near several bright clusters, including M35 in Gemini. Turn to page 28 of the September/October issue of SkyNews for more on Giacobini-Zinner’s current apparition and to see a finder chart.
Nepean, Ontario, imager Oleg Bouevitch, made this animation showing the comet’s motion over a 106-minute-span (at 12-minute intervals) on the morning of August 12. He captured the individual 3-minute exposures with a Celestron Edge HD 11 flat-field Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (with a 0.7× reducer for an effective focal ratio of f/7) and a FLI ML16200 CCD camera.