A Tale of Two Comets – C/2018 W1 Africano & C/2019 2I Borisov

Comet gazers this week are being treated to views of comet “Africano” discovered last year by B.M.Africano at Mt Lemmon and reported merely 21 minutes before the Catalina Sky Survey noticed it too. Africano passed within 0.5 AU (half the distance between the Sun and the Earth) and currently appears to moving towards Neptune in the Northern sky for us Southern Hemisphere viewers.

Like most comets we see, Africano has come from the far reaches of our solar system but is on a peculiar hyperbolic trajectory which means it’s about to be slingshot out and escape the Sun’s gravitational influence forever unless it meets one of the planets on the way out and is captured again. So this is your last chance to see this comet, that we just discovered, ever. It’s fairly large (as far as comets go) and should be easily photographed even with modest telescopes. Pictured here taken with the 400mm focal length Celestron RASA 8 on September 29th with 180s exposures (ZWO 1600MM, D. O’Donnell). It’s closest approach was September 27th but will still look good for comet observers for a while. See here for details of where to find it.


On the other hand, we have C/2019 2I Borisov which according to it’s now-established orbital parameters doesn’t appear to be from our solar system at all. The last time we saw something like this was with 1I/2017 U1 “Oumuamua” which was the only other object like this we’ve observed coming towards the Sun from outside the solar system. This first event drew much speculations about the objects origins including the idea that it might be an old spaceship considering it’s elongated and rusty appearance!

This time around Borisov which was discovered by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov on Aug 30th looks to pass within about 2AU of the Earth and observers everywhere are looking forward to capturing and observing this weird interstellar comet. For details of of this approach which lucky for us will be best seen from the Southern Hemisphere in December. Head to Astronomy Now here for more details and we’ll keep you informed at Bintel!

(Comet Borisov – Image credit: Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA/Travis Rector)

SkyWatcher VIP Event – Observatory Grade Mount Launch

SkyWatcher are having an official launch party at the Bintel store in Glebe, Sydney at 7pm October 18th. Join us and special guest Dylan O’Donnell (StarStuff, Byron Bay Observatory) for details about this exciting new observatory grade mount. Exclusive specials for attendees Over $1000 worth of SkyWatcher giveaways Exclusive look at Skywatchers First Observatory Class…

Bintel attends the Hunter Valley Star Party!

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Bintel attends the Macquarie University Open Night

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The Man with the Golden Telescope.

[ux_slider label=”Telescope Gallery” bullets=”false” auto_slide=”false”] [ux_banner label=”Title” height=”500px” bg=”51564″] [text_box position_x=”50″ position_y=”50″] A Bintel Story DON WHITEMAN Telescope Technician Education & Corporate Manager [/text_box] [/ux_banner] [/ux_slider] [row] [col span=”6″ span__sm=”12″] INTRODUCTION The Binocular & Telescope store is well known for selling and supporting consumer telescopes, but behind the scenes research & government requests for custom-built…

ZWO Planetary Camera Prices SLASHED!

From now until August 25th we’ve slashed prices on a wide range of ZWO Cameras! Check out the links below for more info …

Eltham College Observatory

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Carina Challenge Winners!

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Telescope Questionnaire – Let us help you find the right telescope!

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“Christmas Comet” 46P Wirtanen – 2018 Close Approach Information

Comet Wirtanen swings by the Sun every 5.5 years or so, and because of this orbital period it can vary in brightness and proximity to the Earth each time. This year however we are in for a real treat with Wirtanen’s flyby being the closest and brightest for the next 20 years and right around…

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