[AZ-Observing] Re: Comet Machholz Shaping Up

  • From: BillFerris@xxxxxxx
  • To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2004 12:00:45 EST

Comet Machholz was an easy naked eye object, last night from the USNO  
Flagstaff Station parking lot. In the 18-inch Obsession, the ion tail looked  
like a 
slender bundle of a few strands of fiber optic cable...very nice.
Bill in Flagstaff
Tom Polakis wrote:
There  were no less than six telescopes in our group last night, and
unfortunately  none of them were  small refractors, the ideal  comet-viewing
scope.  We made the best of it, though, getting nice  views through Kerry
Weatherford's 10-inch using a 41mm Panoptic  eyepiece.  Since the phase
angle of the comet is so small, the  foreshortened dust tail is not
impressive, as it is a stubby feature  extending less than 1 degree.  Much
more impressive is the ion tail,  which is only several arcminutes wide for
its entire length, which is more  than 2 degrees.  This tail can be followed
most of the way back to the  core until the coma brightness is too high to
pick it out.

Without  the telescope, it reminds me of a globular cluster.  I put  its
brightness midway between that of M13 and Omega Centauri, when they  are
seen high in the sky.

The good news is that the comet is only  getting brighter.  And further good
news (for most of us) is that it  is moving north.  It should be quite a
sight in the coming  weeks.


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