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Hunter/Murphy/Williams Images of Comet 1996 B2 Hyakutake



Observers: Todd Hunter, Tom Murphy, Dan Williams
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California
Date: March 24, 1996 10:30, 12:25 UT

Comet Hyakutake Photos!

Guiding on the comet nucleus itself, we recorded this 20 minute exposure at 10:30 UT on 24 March 1996 near the eastern end of Joshua Tree National Park, California. A 28 mm lens was used at f/2.8 on a Pentax K-1000 loaded with Fujicolor 200 print film. Ursa Major (The Big Dipper), Arcturus and Coma Berenices highlight this wide-field image (approximately 54 degrees across). The comet's tail is several million miles long in this image!

This 5 minute guided exposure was recorded on the same night at 12:25 UT (near the beginning of astronomical twilight). A 135 mm telephoto lens was used at f/2.8 to resolve more details in the tail near the nucleus. The width of the image is approximately 13 degrees and some thin cirrus is (unfortunately) visible. Note the rapid motion of the comet across the sky between the two images by comparing the relative position of the nucleus and the two stars just to the upper left of the nucleus.

Todd R. Hunter
Tom W. Murphy
Dan Williams
California Institute of Technology

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