Faulkes Telescope Observations

Comet 67P(Churyumov-Gerasimenko)

*** comet 67P ***

Comet 67P is the target of the Rosetta mission. Image obtained using the Faulkes Telescope North at Haleakala, operated by Las Cumbres Observatory. Click on image to enlarge.

Using the Faulkes telescope we observed comet 67P from the 2m telescope in the Haleakala observatory in Hawaii. We obtained various photographs of 67P as it passed over the observatory, tracking its movement as it followed its arc in the sky. The comet was moving at a speed of 0.96"/minute. We saw a gradual increase in right ascension of 0.12 seconds every 2 minutes and a gradual decrease in the declination of 0.5" every 2 minutes.

We also researched the Rosetta mission:

The mission was first considered in the late 1970's but wasn't approved until 1993. The Rosetta spacecraft was launched from Kourou in French Guiana onboard an Ariane rocket on 2nd March 2004.

On 12th November 2015 ESA's Rosetta's mission landed the Philae probe on comet 67P. On the 10 year journey it passed two asteroids and landed on the Agilkia region as planned but did not secure itself and bounced off to a new location in Abydos. There were three methods to secure it after landing: ice screws, harpoons and a small thruster. The mission cost £1 billion to build and construct the instrument required to chase, orbit and land on the comet. The comet is a part of the Jupiter family of comets, it is one of roughly 400 known Jupiter comets. The predicted life span of the probe is 12 years meaning the mission will end in December 2015. There could be a 6 month extension on the mission if there is enough fuel leftover.

*** Messier 41 ***

Messier 41 (M41) is an open cluster of stars. 3 colour images obtained using 1 meter telescope at Siding Spring, operated by Las Cumbres Observatory.

*** beehive ***

The Beehive Cluster (M44) is an open cluster of stars. 3 colour images obtained using 1 meter telescope at Siding Spring, operated by Las Cumbres Observatory.

We also obtained images of Messier objects in the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. Messier 41 is an open cluster of stars in the Canis Major constellation and lies about 4 degrees almost exactly south of Sirius, and forms a triangle with it and Nu2 Canis Majoris. The cluster covers an area around the size of the full moon. It contains about 100 stars including several red giants. The Beehive Cluster (Messier 44) is another open cluster.

We are very grateful to Las Cumbres Observatory and the Faulkes Telescope Project for their kind generosity in allowing our use of their fantastic telecopes.

- Andrew Adair, Orla Donnelly, Suzanne Hoey & Jacqui Hawthorne

2015 December 2nd

More astronomical projects with the Faulkes Telescopes

Last Revised: 2015 December 2nd