Motion of Comet Wirtanen near Aphelion
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Motion of Comet Wirtanen near Aphelion

April 22, 2005
The faint, moving image of the nucleus of Comet Wirtanen (in the circles), as observed by the 8.2-m VLT KUEYEN telescope (formerly UT2) and the VLT Test Camera on May 17, 1999, during the commissioning phase. The telescope followed the comet's motion and the stellar images in the field are therefore seen as trails. Each exposure lasted 8 min through a red (R) filtre. The brightness of the comet is less than R = 25 magnitude, or over 50 million times fainter than what can be seen with the unaided eye. The field of view measures about 17 x 15 arcsec2. North is up and east is left.

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