The winter comet Catalina (C/2013 US10)

Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) has emerged from the solar conjunction about two weeks ago, and now starts being visible in the Northern Hemishpere, in the wee hours before the dawn.

Currently, during the first decade of December, one can spot it in Virgo, not far from Venus. The comet is reported to be as bright as 6th magnitude (easy object for a good pair of binoculars) and has developed quite fascinating two tails, as you may see from the following photo

yamazaki

by Akihiro Yamazaki, Yamanashi, Japan. Dec.04 20:05UT (36x30sec)

This guest from the outer Solar System will be still here for the remainder of winter, as the closest approach to Earth is in mid-January. It will cease being a well-placed object for the observers in the Southern Hemisphere, yet the viewing conditions will only improve in the north over the next month, as the comet will move northwards across Boötes and Canes Venatici.

On the New Year’s night the comet Catalina will pass within 0.5° from one of the brightest stars, Arcturus. And later in January it will pass near the star η of the Big Dipper and move towards Polaris.

chart

Visible path (Northern Hemisphere) of comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina)

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