Comet Hartley 2 was revealed by Australian astronomer Malcolm Hartley. Comet Hartley 2 will make its closest approach to Earth, coming within 11.2 million miles, after a few days approximately on 20th October. Because of Comet’s vividness, we would be able view with naked eyes in the early morning sky. Those who want to see the Comet, should stay away from the city lights and look to the east before sunrise.
This year, two days have been designated as Astronomy Day. October 16 is the Astronomy Day Part 2. Astronomy and stargazing clubs around the world will arrange special events. Hartley will be observable in the constellation Auriga, near its open clusters. With the help of binoculars, you will look for it from a dark sky location.
Comet Hartley 2 was revealed recently because, before 1986 comet had not been on an orbital path that brings it near Earth. Three close encounters with Jupiter in 1947, 1971, and 1982 transferred the comet’s orbit; due to this, it is possible to see the comet.
Comet Hartley 2 can be called as large and diffuse; it means that its light is spread out over a wide area. Make a use of ‘averted vision’ to search the comet. That is the way of looking to one side of the faint object you seek on the sky’s arena, instead of directly at it.
If you are searching the comet then first find the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen. This constellation is simple to mark in the northeast in the evening. Cassiopeia is formed like the letter M or W. This comet will sweep next to Cassiopeia in early October 2010. Cassiopeia always becomes visible in the northeastern sky at nightfall on October evenings. In October, it swings high in the northern sky, above Polaris, in the wee hours after midnight. You will search Cassiopeia in the northwestern sky as night progresses toward dawn. You should view in the locations described above for a W or M formed star pattern.
Around the night of October 7
It is anticipated that Comet Hartley 2 will near the very beautiful Double Cluster in Perseus on October 7. The comet will move within one degree of this eminent cluster. The imagination about how the comet changes place relative to the background stars from night to night is just like fun. The Double Cluster is quite simple to make out with binoculars in fairly light-polluted skies. It is slightly observable to the unaided eye on a dark and moonless night.
After October 10
To search the comet becomes little difficult because the moon will be returning to the evening sky. The moon’s glare will make the comet harder to view. After moonset from October 11 to October 20, it will be the greatest to watch Comet Hartley 2.
Deep Impact spacecraft was introduced by NASA in 2005 and sent collider into Comet 9P/Tempel with aim of sending it close to Comet Hartley 2. This task has now been re-designated by EPOXI. It is assumed that pass most closely to the comet in early November, 2010.
The Green Comet Approaching; 103P/Hartley 2 video from youtube: