Image: Comet C/2013 A1 on Feb 23 2014

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This image is the result of stacking 3 different exposures, 300 seconds each, taken using the iTelesope’s T13 instrument. It is possible to see here Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) (between the two red markers) as it appears on February 23 2014. The image is shown in negative to make more evident some small and faint detail of the comet, namely a small coma and very faint small tail.

Comet C/2013 A1

Comet C/2013 A1 on Fev 23 2014

The comet is currently 513 million kilometers from the sun, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter and is entering the inner solar system, approaching it’s perihelion, which will be reached on October 24, 2014 at a distance of 1.4 Astronomical Units from the Sun.

As the predicted light-curve shows, The comet is expected to peak around magnitude 7 during September 2014 but, as always with comets, this predicted value could be highly inaccurate.

Comet Siding Springs is a very interesting object because, on October 16, 5 days before perihelion, It will pass extremely close to Mars (135,000 kilometers from its centers according to latest computations). Given this short distance it will be even possible that Mars itself could be enveloped in the comet’s coma. See how this particularly close conjunctions appears on our online planetarium.