Comet C/2017 T1 Heinze 21 Million Miles from Earth

Mike Olason
Location of photo
Denver, Colorado
Date/Time of photo
3 January 2018, 0718UT
11" SCT f/6.4 and STF-8300M CCD Camera
Comet C/2017 T1 Heinze was 21 million miles from Earth the night before it's close approach to Earth when these GIF images were taken. Comet Heinze has it's close appraoch to Earth on January 4 when it will be about 20 million miles from Earth. Unfortunately, the Full Moon was only 42 degrees from the comet when these images were taken. The images were only 20 seconds long to not show a streaked comet because the comet was moving at 0.31 degrees per hour to the northwest. The short images and Full Moon resulted in the tail being washed out in this GIF of 8 images each 20 seconds long with a 5 minute interval between images. The tail is to the left of the comet coma in this GIF.
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Mike Olason

About Mike Olason

I started imaging comets in 1994 with an ST-5 CCD Camera and an 11" SC Telescope. Since then the CCD cameras have changed (ST-7, ST-402ME and STF-8300M), but I am still using the 11" SC Telescope. Naturally I have used a lot of smaller telescopes to obtain larger fields of view. I live south of Denver at an elevation of 6150 feet which allows me to image comets down to almost magnitude 21 on a perfect night. Unfortunately ChemTrails have turned Denver cloudy and dry. I use the camera software CCDOps to process my images. All I do to each image is dark subtraction and flat field, stack images as required to show faint comets, contrast/bright adjust the final image and maybe use a median filter to reduce the image noise. The result is an image that reflects reality and will never win any picture of the day award. If you would like to use my images for a project or ask a question send me an email to "".
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