Scientists used Suprime-Cam at Subaru Telescope to catch the comet 103P/Hartley after long shut down of the telescope.
This summer Subaru Telescope underwent primary mirror recoating, modification to its top, overhauling of many actuators, and so on. Since the distance to the comet from the Earth is small and the apparent movement of the comet on the sky is large, non-sidereal tracking was used during this observation based on the orbital parameters of the comet.
This image is composed from the dataset of three different filters; g'-band (480nm), r'-band (620nm), and z'-band (900nm), and color coding is allotted for blue, green, and red, respectively. Since the comet was moving from the lower right to the upper left compared with the background stars, each background star appears as triple points with three colors along the direction of the comet movement.
Shouts of joy arose from the observers as well as the night crews on site when the telescope slew to the calculated position and the comet's tail appeared on a monitor. The observation crew is looking forward to obtaining even more striking results with an innovative instrument that will be installed on Subaru Telescope in near future. What is that instrument? Stay tuned.
Explore further: 'Perfect storm' quenching star formation around a supermassive black hole