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Binocular comet now high in the sky

Comet 103p/ Hartley, better known in the popular press as Hartley 2, is now screaming toward the sun and visible in binoculars near the constellation Cygnus. I took advantage of the clear sky on Saturday night to image the comet. Here’s what I came up with.

Hartley 2 is interesting because there is a spacecraft en route to rendezvous with this comet. JPL’s EPOXI mission is headed there, and the WISE mission just got a picture of Hartley 2 from space. Here it is: courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA. WISE takes pictures in the infrared range, while we here on earth can thank our atmosphere for eliminating the infrared from our quiver of wavelengths to image in. The earth is simply too bright in that band for the sky to ever be dark!

You can find Hartley 2 in binoculars by looking near Cygnus. Here’s a finder chart:

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