Comet 46P/Wirtanen


Hi everyone!

The Comet 46P/Wirtanen is brightening up this month, coming in at about 5.3 magnitude. In a good dark sky location the human eye can see to about 6.0 magnitude (remember that bigger numbers mean they are dimmer). With some steady binoculars or a telescope you should be able to pick it out throughout the month (tracking info below).

Here’s a single 30 second exposure I just took from PAN001 in Hawaii, with more on the way! This is the FITS files but all the color information is still in there so when observations are done (and I get some time!) I’ll stack them together and see what we can get. The comet is very green so the color images should look pretty good.

Live Tracker info:


Very nice, can’t wait for the color version !


I unfortunately haven’t had a ton of time to play with the pretty images, but this is an observation that is going on as I write this. The comet will pass by Pleiades for the next few days so I’ve set it up so that the comet will move from the bottom-right to the top-left of this image. We should be able to make a pretty awesome timelapse from that.

BTW, all PANOPTES data is public. I’m also busy building a website to easily access the data but if anyone is interested in taking a crack at using the data before I get a chance (which might be a while), please ask! We should be publishing the website within a few days.

Edit: I don’t know why I named this “m42” :slight_smile:


Making all panoptes data available through a website, like would be truly an awesome work !
Nice picture by the way, would be even better with color and flat-correction :slight_smile:

I am building my own (heavily modified) version of POCS, supporting INDI, with a custom rig, for a slightly different purpose, I’ll try to see if I can keep it compatible with the original panoptes concept, but I am not entirely sure about the data harvest policy.

Is it still possible for someone to upload properly tagged fields images to the google repository with an arbitrary imaging setup (telescope+mount+sensor) that might be different from the one from panoptes original project ?

Thank you for your work !


Hi @gnthibault. We’re just a short way from promoting our website for the data but you can see it at Still some work to be done and things will change over the course of the next week or so (including adding easy RGB images for pretty pictures as well as light curve data from processed targets).

We would need to have a broader conversation with our google partners about exactly what data we can support although in principle it should be ok. As you mention part of that would be proper tagging of the fields.

Also keep us updated on your version of POCS. @james.synge has had an interest in getting an INDI version going for a while and we would be happy to discuss particulars with you regarding that.



Great work !

The code I wrote for getting POCS infrastructure to work with my previous code is very far from being perfect, but I somehow managed to get some very basic features to work (Lots of features still need to be tested unfortunately, but the indi telescope simulator helps).

Here are the main classes (notice that for the indi support, I got inspiration from Marco Gulino classes:

My equivalent of POCS abstract class for the mount:

My class for pure indi mount:

Class that inherits from both (it is not well written, and one can probably come up with a better design):

You will find base examples for camera, filterwheel, … classes either in Marco Gulino repository or mine (that is, anyway strongy inspired by Marco’s code).