As Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring glides towards its encounter with Mars in October, it’s passing by some major deep sky objects in the glorious south celestial sky. iTelescope members weren’t going to let the comet’s picturesque alignments pass without action.
iTelescope veteran Rolando Ligustri captured this unique portrait using the T12 iTelescope at SSO observatory during the night of August 29th. It shows the rich assemblage of stars and star clusters that comprise the Small Magellanic Cloud, one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies located 200,000 light years away.
Looking like a fuzzy caterpillar, Siding Spring seems to crawl between the rich swarm called 47 Tucanae, one of the few globular clusters bright enough to see with the naked eye and the SMC. C/2013 A1 is currently circumpolar from many locations south of the equator and visible all night long from our own Siding Spring based iTelescope observatory.
Comet Siding Spring's encounters and path is also further detailed in Ian Musgrave's "SkyAlerts" blog