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Author Topic:   Bright New Comet Visible
DC Giants
Member

Posts: 133
From: Kansas City, MO USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 01-07-2007 06:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DC Giants   Click Here to Email DC Giants     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Comet McNaught is a binocular object very low in the west. I observed it tonight when it was about 4-5 degrees above the horizon and the comet had a small bright head with a short tail that was easily seen. A very nice sight! According to the article below it could get much brighter over the next few days.
http://space.com/spacewatch/070104_comet_mcnaught.html

Photos and additional information can be found here: http://cometography.com/lcomets/2006p1.html

Patrick

mdmyer
Member

Posts: 899
From: Humboldt KS USA
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-07-2007 06:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello Patrick. It is clear and cold in Kansas. I took my 7" Starmaster Oak Classic out and found the comet too. I was not out before sunset but I was able to find the comet at 5:45pm and it had set by 6pm. I observed it with my 7 X 50 binoculars and then with the Starmaster working at 31x. I was able to see the comet naked eye before it set.

Mike Myer
Humboldt KS

DC Giants
Member

Posts: 133
From: Kansas City, MO USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 01-07-2007 07:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DC Giants   Click Here to Email DC Giants     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey Mike,

That's about the same time I saw it in binocs, although I could not quite make it out naked eye. Unfortunately I did not have a good spot to set up my scope in time.

It should be interesting to see how much brighter it gets over the next few days.

Patrick

AstronautBrian
Member

Posts: 235
From: Madisonville, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 01-08-2007 11:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstronautBrian   Click Here to Email AstronautBrian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has the comet gone any higher than 5 degrees above the horizon, or expected too?

------------------
"I am sui generis; just leave it at that." - Huey P. Long

mdmyer
Member

Posts: 899
From: Humboldt KS USA
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-09-2007 06:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think it will get much higher than it is now. You can find more information about the comet at http://www.spaceweather.com and http://skytonight.com/observing/highlights/5118926.html

Good luck and I hope you try to observe this neat comet.

Mike Myer
Humboldt KS

AstronautBrian
Member

Posts: 235
From: Madisonville, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 01-09-2007 08:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstronautBrian   Click Here to Email AstronautBrian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll try to see if I can find it. I just need to see if I can find a point higher than the pine trees, which is hard in this part of Louisiana. :-)

------------------
"I am sui generis; just leave it at that." - Huey P. Long

DC Giants
Member

Posts: 133
From: Kansas City, MO USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 01-09-2007 09:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DC Giants   Click Here to Email DC Giants     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I observed the comet again these past two nights and it seems to be getting brighter every night. The comet looks great in binoculars although it will be getting lower in the sky which each passing night.

Good luck in Louisiana - we don't have too many pine trees in the Kansas City area, usually just clouds!

Patrick

Gilbert
Member

Posts: 935
From: Carrollton, GA USA
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 01-10-2007 03:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Where is the comet relative to the sun?

mdmyer
Member

Posts: 899
From: Humboldt KS USA
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-10-2007 04:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The comet is now the brightest comet in the past 30 years. Look for a finder chart and more photos at http://www.spaceweather.com The comet is to the north or the right of the Sun and Venus. Start looking right at sunset and look to the right of Venus. Venus is easy to see because it is the brightest object on the western horizon at sunset. The comet will be to the right of Venus and lower than Venus.

Miranda and I are going out tonight to see it. Tonight might be the last night it will be visiable so don't miss out.

Mike Myer
Humboldt KS

MarylandSpace
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Posts: 961
From:
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 01-10-2007 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Banks of clouds.

Banks of clouds.

However, about 40 minutes past sunset some breaks, but I was only able to catch a bright Venus above the horizon.

Maybe tomorrow. I remember Comet West.

Garry

mdmyer
Member

Posts: 899
From: Humboldt KS USA
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-10-2007 07:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I did not see Comet West but I have read about it and seen the pictures. Was that in 1976?

Miranda and I went out to a hill top north of town. There were some low thin clouds on the horizon and I began to wonder if we were going to see the comet. Sunset was about 5:21pm. I found Venus about 5:30pm and I spotted the comet in 7 x 50 binoculars at 5:35pm. By 5:43pm Miranda and I were able to see the comet with the naked eye. I had taken my 7" Oak Classic (7" F 5.6 reflector)out with me but the wind was blowing so hard that it would move the telescope. I had to hang on to it so Miranda and I could see the comet. We observed the comet till it set just after 6pm. Even though we had the telescope I think the comet looked better in the binoculars. It had a great tail on it and the head of the comet was very bright. Too bad this comet was not higher in the sky. It might have been a rival to Hale-Bopp.

Mike Myer
Astronomical League
Master Observer #22.

DC Giants
Member

Posts: 133
From: Kansas City, MO USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 01-10-2007 07:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DC Giants   Click Here to Email DC Giants     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The sky was very clear tonight from my location with little haze, and the comet looked great in binoculars. The tail seemed to be a degree or more in length, and the head was compact and bright.

I did not lug out the telescope, but was happy with my naked eye and binocular views of Comet McNaught.

Patrick

mdmyer
Member

Posts: 899
From: Humboldt KS USA
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-11-2007 07:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While Miranda and I were observing the Comet McNaught I made told her it was a nice comet.

Miranda said "Daddy. What did the comet say when the astronomer said Nice Comet".

"Thank you" I asked.

No. "Nice Comment" Miranda said.

Mike Myer
Humboldt KS.

spaceman1953
Member

Posts: 933
From: South Bend, IN United States of America
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 01-11-2007 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Clouds, clouds, clouds.

I still don't understand how this can be the BRIGHTEST COMET in XXX years, when I (you/we) could see Halley's AND Shoemaker-Levy (??) (or another really bright one that put Halley's to shame a few years ago) with naked eyes ! (although MY eyes rarely wear clothing !) ???

Must be why I failed ASTRONOMY in college BOTH times !?!?

Gene Bella

Glint
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Posts: 747
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 01-11-2007 06:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spaceman1953:
Clouds, clouds, clouds.

I still don't understand how this can be the BRIGHTEST COMET in XXX years, when I (you/we) could see Halley's AND Shoemaker-Levy (??) (or another really bright one that put Halley's to shame a few years ago) with naked eyes !


You mean Hale-Bop? I viewed that comet during daylight with my 12.5" f6 Equatorial -- a first for me! I let the clock drive track it until the sun had risen and could still see the central condensation.

That was some comet all right!

Glint
Member

Posts: 747
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 01-11-2007 06:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Too many clouds on the horizon to view McNaught. However, I've posted one of last night's images here:
http://www.marstown.org/

mdmyer
Member

Posts: 899
From: Humboldt KS USA
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-11-2007 06:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This comet is brighter but there is a limitation to keep in mind. Comet Hale-Bopp, Comet Hyakutake, and Halley's Comet were all visible at a distance above the horizon. Comet Hyakutake passed very near the celestial north pole and it was visible all night. Comet Hale-Bopp was visible for an hour or two above the eastern horizon before twilight then it passed around the sun and was visible for an hour or two after sunset.

Comet McNaught is brighter than these comets but it is very close to the sun so it sets just after the sun. Comet McNaught has never been seen very far above the horizon and since it sets in twilight the sky is not dark enough to really show how bright this comet is.

Take a look at the photo gallery at http://www.spaceweather.com None of the photos there show the comet against a dark sky. All of the photos were taken in twilight. If this comet were seen above the horizon in a dark sky then everyone would really be amazed.

Mike Myer
Humboldt KS

[Edited by mdmyer (January 11, 2007).]

DC Giants
Member

Posts: 133
From: Kansas City, MO USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 01-11-2007 10:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DC Giants   Click Here to Email DC Giants     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mdmyer:
While Miranda and I were observing the Comet McNaught I made told her it was a nice comet.

Miranda said "Daddy. What did the comet say when the astronomer said Nice Comet".

"Thank you" I asked.

No. "Nice Comment" Miranda said.

Mike Myer
Humboldt KS.


Kids are always right! It is great that she got to see the comet. I was able to videotape the comet for my two young boys.

Patrick

DC Giants
Member

Posts: 133
From: Kansas City, MO USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 01-11-2007 10:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DC Giants   Click Here to Email DC Giants     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unfortunately, clouds ruined any observations of the comet tonight. After tomorrow, it will be the Southern Hemisphere's turn to get some eye-popping views of the comet.

Patrick

cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 01-12-2007 11:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The sky finally cleared up tonight over Geneva, so I found a spot near the house to have clear view of the horizon (we're surrounded by mountains here!). I first easily saw Venus then I moved northwards to see if I can see the comet but couldn't with the naked eye. So I started to scan the sky with binoculars from Venus northwards and bingo! It was a few degrees above the horizon (say in between Venus and the horizon). The comet is very faint (the sky was a bit hazy especially near the horizon) but with a much longer tail than Hale-Bopp, yet much less visible...(can't have both, I guess!).

What a sight! This is just awsome! This just made my day! I wish we had more events like those. It beats any human spaceflight or photos taken by probes, no matter how great those are.

And of course, nobody's talking about it over here...

Chris.

mdmyer
Member

Posts: 899
From: Humboldt KS USA
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-13-2007 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is now being reported that Comet McNaught can be seen in the daytime. For more informaion to go http://www.spaceweather.com While there you can also sign up for a e-mail alerts for future comets and Northern Lights alerts.

Mike Myer
Humboldt KS

AstronautBrian
Member

Posts: 235
From: Madisonville, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 01-13-2007 06:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstronautBrian   Click Here to Email AstronautBrian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is awesome. I'm going to try and see it tomorrow. It should be a nice, clear day. If it is a clear evening, I may go up on the house roof. I would hate to miss this comet without seeing it at least once!

------------------
"I am sui generis; just leave it at that." - Huey P. Long

cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 01-14-2007 01:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AstronautBrian:
This is awesome. I'm going to try and see it tomorrow. It should be a nice, clear day. If it is a clear evening, I may go up on the house roof. I would hate to miss this comet without seeing it at least once!


It is truly awsome. The official sunset time was 5:44pm (Swiss time) yesterday (Jan.13) but I thought to myself if sunset means the sun setting below the horizon (and over the horizon has an elevation of a few degrees due to mountains), then I should go and try to see it earlier than sunset, which I did. So around 5:25, I went out (with binoculars) and found it immediately and although it's low on the horizon and so its image is a bit fuzzy due to local haze and pollution (reddish clouds), I also managed to see it with the naked eye as an extremely faint object (you need excellent vision and now what and where to look!). But with binoculars, it was a great show; the comet became brighter as it approached the horizon and it was amazing to see how fast the Earth is rotating.
I hope you'll be able to see it.

Chris.

Ben
Member

Posts: 1843
From: Daytona Beach, FL
Registered: May 2000

posted 01-20-2007 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is worth taking a look at McNaught's own images of the comet:
http://msowww.anu.edu.au/~rmn/Jan20a.JPG
http://msowww.anu.edu.au/~rmn/C2006P1new.htm

Just stunning. Wish I could be there to see it.

DC Giants
Member

Posts: 133
From: Kansas City, MO USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 01-20-2007 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DC Giants   Click Here to Email DC Giants     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ben,

Thanks for posting those links. Those pictures are incredible! Makes me want to buy some plane tickets for the land down under.

Patrick

TRS
Member

Posts: 597
From: Wellington, New Zealand
Registered: Mar 2003

posted 01-27-2007 05:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TRS   Click Here to Email TRS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We (Sharon and I) spent 5 hours staking out a spot on the Wellington coastline to watch the comet tonight. When we arrived there was just the two of us and after 4 hours we realised that dozens of other people had been gathering on the coasline park where we were at the very bottom of North Island. About 9.40pm the comet came into view with a beautiful tail and in an area of sky completely unaffectd by cloud. As the night got progressively darker (summer over here) it simply got brighter and brighter and more spectacular.

There were some humorous moments..

the small child who pointed his torch at the comet "to see it better"
The astronomer who knew what she was doing with her telescope and muted red working light cursing the one nearby who didn't as he used his hallogen torch to change eyepieces... and the folks using flash photography to get a better shot...

On the trip home we passed hundreds of people standing along the Wellington coastline with not a space inch of room for another car to be parked - bumper to bumper for kilometers as people who otherwise might share nothing in common enjoyed such a spectacular event.

It was one of those magical nights where you realise you are surrounded by parents hoisting kids up on their shoulders, happy couples sitting drinking wine beside the waves watching the wonder of it all, and me and my wife spending our wedding anniversary watching one of the most spectacular things we will see in the heavens during our lifetimes.


And given the Apollo 1 anniversary today, and the upcoming Shuttle commemorations it is hard not to find yourself thinking that the comet was offering more than a small tribute on behalf of the universe to those who have lost their lives in its exploration.

Craig
Wellington, NZ

DC Giants
Member

Posts: 133
From: Kansas City, MO USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 01-27-2007 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DC Giants   Click Here to Email DC Giants     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Craig,

Thanks for sharing your terrific experience with Comet McNaught! They remind me of the shared recollections of Halley's Comet by people who observed the comet in 1910. It is a rare thing to have something special like Comet McNaught that leaves a positive impression with people for the rest of their lives.

Patrick

blue_eyes
Member

Posts: 161
From: North Carolina, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 01-27-2007 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for blue_eyes   Click Here to Email blue_eyes     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Craig,

Likewise, I thank you too! Your tribute was beautiful and deeply moving. Thank you for sharing with everyone. And a happy wedding anniversary to you and your wife!

cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 01-28-2007 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Craig,

thanks for sharing. I remember fondly comet Hale-Bopp, although less spectacular, which offered quite a show and was much more visible (high in the summer sky).

Chris.

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