2010 10 10 – Comet 103P/Hartley

2010 10 10, 0441UT-0537UT – Comet 103P/Hartley
PCW Memorial Observatory, Zanesville, Ohio, USA, Erika Rix

Sketch Media:
Copy paper, template courtesy of Perez Media, 0.5mm mechanical pencil, #2 pencil, blending stump, ultra fine black permanent marker

The timing was perfect: I worked evening shift, came home to an open observatory (compliments of Paul who was imaging Jupiter on his side of the observatory), grabbed the location of the comet from Starmap HD, changed into my slippers and sweats, and headed down to the observatory. Paul helped me move the Zhumell to the southwestern side of the observatory so I could get a good view or Perseus and Cassiopeia over the trees and left me so that I could observe without the lights from his imaging gear.

This was my first observing session without Riser sleeping on his blankets next to me. A few weeks ago, just months after we celebrated his 14th birthday with a trip to the local dairy freeze for an ice cream cone, we heartbreakingly had to say our goodbyes and put him to rest in our little pet cemetery. I imagine Buttercup and Freckles will assume his spot in the observatory as my observing buddies, but Riser is, and will continue to be, surely missed.

Comet Hartley was near binary star system SAO 23655 (15n-Per):
Constellation – Perseus
System Name – Eta Persei / Miram

SAO 23655 had a glow around it resembling nebulosity. 103P had perhaps a very slight hint of a tail in the fact that the nucleus appeared slightly elongated. The nucleus was dense and smoothly blended with the surrounding coma. The coma was large and gradually faded out against the darkness of the background. I failed to render the fading properly in my sketch. In reality, I couldn’t exactly discern where the coma ended.

Toward the end of the sketch, I noticed that the star placements I had jotted on the paper weren’t very accurate with the position of the comet. It was at that time that I noticed just how much the comet had traveled and I decided it would be best to end the sketch.

For more reports on 103P, the members of Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews have a thread to share their observations:
Cloudy Nights Comet 103P Discussion Thread

Additional helpful links:


By Jonathan Shanklin, BAA, Comet Section: www.ast.cam.ac.uk

Comet 103/p Hartley
(visible as green ball) and the Double Cluster in Perseus, as seen 09 OCT 2010 from Mt Laguna. Paul Martinez and Philip Brents. Canon 30D and 70-200 f/2.8 atop Meade LX-75, stack of two images at 1600 and 3200 ISO, 30 sec f/2.8. Free license under CCSA 3.0 (see vcastro.com/fal).

General information regarding comets: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet


~ by Erika Rix on October 10, 2010.

4 Responses to “2010 10 10 – Comet 103P/Hartley”

  1. Great sketch, Erika! That’s an incredible star field and the comet is very nicely shaded. I enjoyed reading your experience with the comet’s motion across the stars. Very sorry about the loss of your observing buddy.

  2. Thanks, Jeremy. I thought I was off to a good start with the star field, and then it just kind of went downhill. lol. I’m bound to get better at star placements some day. And thanks with regards to Riser.

  3. Beautiful sketch-work Erika. It’s very realistic to what I have observed in the past week as Comet Hartley2 passed the Earth on October 20th.

    My heartfelt condolences about your loss of Riser. – Mark

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s