This post is based on an article published on the NASA JPL Rosetta science blog.
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is back! In fact, the comet has been in sight for Rosetta for many months, but since the end of last year it was not possible to observe it with telescopes on Earth because it was in solar conjunction.
But now the comet has been recovered by amateur astronomers Jean-Francois Soulier, Jean-Gabriel Bosch and Alain Maury, who observed it from Chile on 13 April 2015 at a magnitude of of 16.8. Congratulations to the observers!
Padma A. Yanamandra-Fisher, Rosetta Coordinator of the Amateur Observations for Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, would like to alert the amateur astronomer community that 67P/C-G has now been recovered post-solar conjunction and invite them to participate in the campaign to observe the comet from April to December 2015, as Rosetta accompanies the comet to its perihelion and outbound journey.
“Amateur and professional observers should start to observe, safely, and please post with all the necessary information,” says Padma. “Those who can record the data in FITS, please provide us with RAW uncompressed data files.”
Amateur astronomers will be able to make significant contributions to the campaign, especially in 2015, leading up to perihelion in August and beyond, when the comet will be at its brightest (September – November). They can contribute in many formats, ranging from imaging, spectroscopic and binocular observations to sketches.
Amateur astronomers who wish to join the campaign can register here and on the corresponding Facebook group. For additional information, read the article on the NASA JPL Rosetta page here or contact Padma Yanamandra-Fisher.