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C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto)

 

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Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto)
February 10, 2019

Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) in Leo on February 10, 2019, from Carranza Field in Wharton State Forest, NJ. Taken at 12:40 am EST with a Canon 7D Mk II digital SLR camera and a Canon 200 mm f/2.8L lens on a fixed tripod. It was exposed 4 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 6400, 4400 K white balance. Besides size reduction, no processing was applied. Unfortunately, I didn't have the focus quite right during the session. The field is 6.4 wide x 4.3 high, centered on magnitude 4.6 Chi Leonis. Mouseover for labels. The comet was obvious in 15x56 binoculars, but not seen with unaided eyes, and its motion was detected in as little as 10 minutes with the binoculars; see my Iwamoto page for details.

 

 

East Point, New Jersey
Omega Centauri, Venus & Jupiter, C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto)
February 3, 2019

The great globular cluster, Omega Centauri (NGC 5139), was observed on February 3, 2019, from East Point, NJ, around 5 am EST. The camera's GPS recorded this location as 3911'39" north, 7501'35" west. Omega is almost obvious in this image looking south over the Delaware Bay and was easily seen in 15x56 binoculars, despite low-level haze/fog; however, it was not seen with unaided eyes.

Taken at 4:48 am EST with a Canon 6D digital SLR camera (on a fixed tripod) and a Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 Art lens. It was exposed 4 seconds at f/2.0, ISO 4000, 3800 K white balance. It was cropped to 61% of the original linear dimensions yielding a field 25 wide x 17 high. Mouseover for labels.

 

 

Here are the bright planets Venus, in the constellation Sagittarius, and Jupiter in the constellation Ophiuchus. This picture was captured at 4:43 am EST on February 3, 2019, from East Point, NJ. At the time, Venus and Jupiter were 11.4 apart, while Venus was at 4.2 altitude and Jupiter was at 10.6 altitude. To the right of the planets is the upper part of Scorpius, with its first-magnitude star Antares and nearby globular cluster, M4. Mouseover for labels.

Taken with a Canon 6D digital SLR camera (on a fixed tripod) and a Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 Art lens. It was exposed 4 seconds at f/2.0, ISO 4000, 3800 K white balance. The uncropped field is about 39 wide x 27 high.

 

This relatively wide-angle view shows the star field around comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) in Virgo on February 3, 2019. It looks south over the Delaware Bay from East Point, NJ. Taken at 4:42 am EST with a Canon 6D digital SLR camera (on a fixed tripod) and a Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 Art lens. It was exposed 4 seconds at f/2.0, ISO 4000, 4000 K white balance. It was cropped to 80% of the original linear dimensions for a field about 32 wide x 23 high. Mouseover for labels. There's a closer crop of the comet area on my Iwamoto page.

C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) was also observed visually on February 3 with 15x56 binoculars and an 85 mm spotting scope. Iwamoto was in the same 4.5 binocular field of view as M104, the Sombrero Galaxy.

 

 

Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto)
and Asteroid (7) Iris, near Spica
January 30, 2019

Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) in Virgo on January 30, 2019, from Carranza Field in Wharton State Forest, NJ. Taken at 4:54 am EST with a Canon 6D digital SLR camera and a Canon 200 mm f/2.8L lens on a fixed tripod. It was exposed 2 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 12,800, 4400 K white balance. It was cropped to a vertical 8x10 ratio (53% of the original area) and the brightness/contrast were mildly adjusted. The field is 5.5 wide x 6.8 high. Mouseover for labels. There's a closer crop of the comet area on my Iwamoto page.

C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) was initially observed on January 12, 2019, from Carranza Field with an 85 mm spotting scope and best seen with its maximum magnification of 60x, although it was only at the threshold of visibility. It was not seen in the 85 mm on January 15, but it was captured (barely) in a snapshot. On January 30, it was clear and cold at Carranza (about 20F) and there was a thin layer of snow on the ground. Despite a 25% illuminated moon at 14 altitude in the southeast, as soon as I arrived at 4:30 am, I got out my 16x70 binoculars and found Iwamoto almost immediately about 5 southwest of Spica. It was not difficult to see (comparable to the ease of seeing nearby M104, the Sombrero Galaxy, in the 16x70s). I then set up my 85 mm spotting scope and was able to see Iwamoto with its full range of 27x to 60x. Also visible in the scope was the asteroid (7) Iris, magnitude 10.5, about 18 arc minutes northwest of the comet. At 4:35 am, the comet and asteroid were around 35 altitude and less than a degree east of the meridian.

 

 

Venus, Jupiter and the Crescent Moon
January 30, 2019

The bright planets Venus and Jupiter were joined by the 25% illuminated Crescent Moon, all in the constellation Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, when this picture was captured at 5:08 am EST on January 30, 2019, from Carranza Field in Wharton State Forest, NJ. To the right of the planets is the upper part of Scorpius, the Scorpion, with its first-magnitude star Antares, and nearby globular cluster, M4. Mouseover for labels.

Taken with a Canon 6D digital SLR camera on a fixed tripod and a Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 Art lens. It was exposed 4 seconds at f/2.0, ISO 1600, 4200 K white balance. Besides size reduction, it was mildly cropped to a field about 30 wide x 20 high, but there was no other processing.

At the time, Venus and Jupiter were 7.8 apart while Jupiter and the Moon were 7.1 apart. Venus was at 9.3 altitude, Jupiter was at 12.8 altitude and the moon was at 19.1 altitude. The Moon is considerably overexposed such that the crescent shape is not readily apparent, although the lower-left of the pictured Moon is bulging from overexposure and diffraction spikes are radiating from it. The dark and dusky earthshine-illuminated upper-right of the Moon is even overexposed and bright, but it's still disc-like with no rays coming off of it.

The sky at the time was quite clear and many stars were visible, just as the picture shows. The ground was covered with a thin layer of snow and the temperature was around 20F. Despite the cold (or because of it?), it was a beautiful setting. The snow first became visible on the sides of Carranza Road a mile or two beyond the four-way stop in Tabernacle, and was quite prominent on the sides once Forked Neck/Bozarthtown Road was crossed. Carranza Road itself was clear through to the Costello Preparatory Academy, then numerous patches of fresh snow were crossed all the way to the field. Evidently, not another car had passed the academy since the snow fell, perhaps 12 hours earlier. No tire tracks, besides my own on the way back, were seen.

 

The picture below was taken at 6:34 am EST with a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, when I stopped at Swede Run in Moorestown, NJ, for a look on the way home. I just rested the tablet on the roof of the car. Except for size reduction, no processing was applied. EXIF data was unavailable on the copy I transferred to my laptop, but undoubtedly, there's a lot less exposure than the Carranza shot, since the background twilight is getting bright. Therefore, the moon isn't as badly overexposed, and there's even a tad of earthshine visible towards the upper right. Mouseover for labels.

 

 

 

Venus and Jupiter
January 26, 2019

This view of the bright planets Venus and Jupiter in the constellation Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, was captured at 5:40 am EST on January 26, 2019, from Swede Run in Moorestown, NJ. To the right of the planets is the upper part of Scorpius, the Scorpion, with its distinctly reddish first-magnitude star Antares. Mouseover for labels.

Taken with a Canon 7D Mark II digital SLR camera on a fixed tripod and a Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 Art lens plus a Hoya "diffuser" filter (which softens the focus and increases the visibility of point-like objects). It was exposed 2 seconds at f/2.0, ISO 800, 4000 K white balance. Besides size reduction, there was no post-processing or cropping. The field is 25 wide x 17 high.

At the time, Venus and Jupiter were 4.3 apart. During the four days since the previous picture on January 22, Venus has moved 4.3 east while Jupiter has moved 0.7 east (both are in direct or "prograde" motion). There was a veil of thin clouds over the pictured area and the temperature was around 20F.

 

 

Venus and Jupiter Converge
January 22, 2019

Here are the bright planets Venus and Jupiter in the constellation Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, captured at 5:09 am EST on January 22, 2019, from Swede Run in Moorestown, NJ. Taken with a Canon 7D Mark II digital SLR camera on a fixed tripod and a Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 Art lens. It was exposed 2 seconds at f/2.0, ISO 400, 4200 K white balance. Besides size reduction, there was no post-processing or cropping. The field is 25 wide x 17 high.

On January 22, these two planets were at formal conjunction in geocentric right ascension at 1 am and would reach their appulse (minimum apparent separation) for this location at 10 am. At the 5:09 am time of the picture, they were around 10 altitude and were 2.4 apart, the latter being little different from the separation at conjunction or appulse. Also at the time, the nearly-full moon (98% illuminated) was at 36 altitude behind the camera, and the temperature was 13F. The head of Scorpius, and its heart (Antares), are to the right of the planets. Mouseover for labels.

The images below are severe crops of the original unprocessed image showing, on the left, Jupiter at 4.1% of the original linear dimensions and on the right, Rho Ophiuchi at 11.5% of the original dimensions. Both were then resized for this page to a similar 300 pixels wide and about 200 pixels high. On the image to the left, Jupiter is greatly overexposed masking detail, but the Galilean satellites Ganymede and Callisto are visible to the upper right of the Jovian disc (they were 3.5 and 4.5 arc minutes from Jupiter respectively). Europa was too close to see at the lower left of the disc, and Io was in Jupiter's shadow above-right of the disc. On the image to the right, Rho Oph is the tight triple star left of center, while Omicron Oph is the brighter star right of center.

 
Jupiter, Ganymede and Callisto (9 altitude) Rho and Omicron Ophiuchi (12.5 altitude)

 

 

Total Lunar Eclipse
January 21, 2019

This snapshot of the Totally Eclipsed Moon was captured at 12:08 am EST on January 21, 2019, from Maple Shade, NJ, four minutes before maximum eclipse at 12:12 am. The Moon transited the meridian at 12:11 am, reaching about 70 altitude (for this location, nominally 40N-75W) and Full Moon was at 12:16 am. Taken with a Canon 7D Mark II digital SLR camera and a Canon 400 mm f/5.6L lens on a fixed tripod. It was exposed 0.8 seconds at f/6.3, ISO 3200, daylight white balance. It was cropped to about 73% of the original linear dimensions for a field 2.4 wide x 1.6 high. Brightness and contrast were mildly adjusted. Mouseover for labels showing the magnitudes of the brighter stars around the moon (decimal points have been omitted). A sharp cold front had swept in earlier in the day and the temperature plunged to 16F here during totality; in addition, it was quite windy (seeing was also poor).

 

Here's a wider-field view of the Totally Eclipsed Moon and the Beehive Cluster, M44, captured at 12:19 am EST on January 21, 2019, from Maple Shade, NJ. At the time, some thin clouds were passing over them. Taken with a Canon 7D Mark II digital SLR camera on a fixed tripod and a Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 Art lens. It was exposed 2 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 1600 (about 2.7 stops more than the moon close-up above), and 4200 K white balance. It was cropped to about 60% of the original linear dimensions for a field 15 wide x 10 high. Brightness, contrast and color were mildly adjusted. Mouseover for labels. I was able to see Asellus Australis (magnitude 3.9) with unaided eyes, but not Asellus Borealis (magnitude 4.7) or M44 itself.

 

 

Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto)
January 15, 2019

Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) in Virgo on January 15, 2019, from Carranza Field in Wharton State Forest, NJ. Taken at 4:34 am EST with a Canon 6D digital SLR camera and a Canon 200 mm f/2.8L lens on a fixed tripod. It was exposed 4 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 6400, 4000 K white balance. Besides cropping to an 8x10 ratio (53% of the original area) and size reduction, no processing was applied. The field is 5.5 wide x 6.8 high. Mouseover for labels. There's a closer crop of the comet on my Iwamoto page.

C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) was initially observed on January 12, 2019, from Carranza Field with an 85 mm spotting scope and best seen with its maximum magnification of 60x, although it was only at the threshold of visibility. It was not seen in the 85 mm on January 15 (around 4:15 am). I was therefore surprised to see it at all in this snapshot. At the time, it was 23 altitude, approaching the Atlantic City light dome, and half a degree north of the Hydra-Virgo border (see the SkyTools finder chart on the Iwamoto page).

 

 

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Last Update: Monday, February 11, 2019 at 03:04 AM Eastern Time