Seeing the long period Comet C/2017 O1 with an eVscope
There is a comet in the sky, its name is C/2017 O1 and it is probably the first visit of this long period comet in the inner part of the solar system. We observed it with the evScope prototype this month.
When it was discovered on July 19, 2017 by the All Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) system, Comet O1 ASAS-SN was located on the constellation of Cetus and had a faint magnitude of 15.3. Interestingly, if one eVscope was pointed in this area of the sky it could have detected it. A few short days, however, the comet jumped up a hundred-fold in brightness to magnitude 10 as it came closer to the sun and its activity increased.
Using our Unistellar prototype our team observed it from Aubagne, France on October 16 2017. During this night, the comet was moving from the Perseus to the Camelopardalis constellations. We used our Automatic Field Detection to identify the FOV and find the target and in 5 min we had pinpoint the comet!
Interestingly, recent observations of the comet shows that the comet is still active and its brightness remains the same. It is possible it was caught it in an outburst and the community of professional and amateur astronomers should continue to monitor it to better understand what is going on with this icy body. This is the kind of scientific study that we will be able to do combining observations from all eVscopes.
This is probably the first visit of this long period comet in the inner part of the solar system. Since more all-sky surveys are becoming available (Pan-STARRS, ASASSN, Black-Gems,..) more comets like this one will be detected in the future. "More comets" also means more targets to study and enjoy with your eVscope!