Comets Old and New
Posted 20 June 2010 - 12:09 PM
I have tried to observe the Comet R1 McNaught on several occasions, but the weather did not cooperate. However when I saw sketches and images of Comet R1 McNaught it reminded me of Ikeya Zhang in May 2002. The appearance of Comet Ikea-Zhang changed quite a bit during the time I observed it between March 11, 2002 and May 4, 2002 as shown in the sketches below. I have included the descriptions of the tails below and there is more information with the sketches on the appearance of the coma.
Comet Ikeya Zhang, March 11, 2002. Its gas tail extended straight back, while the dust tail appeared feathered and arched off to the right. The tail appeared to be between 3 - 4 degrees in length:
Comet Ikeya Zhang March 11, 2002.html
Comet Ikeya Zhang, March 16, 2002. The gas tail extended straight back, while the dust tail appeared somewhat feathered. The tail appeared to be approximately 3 degrees in length.:
Comet Ikeya Zhang March 16, 2002
Comet Ikeya Zhang, April 6, 2002. In early April it was visible in both the morning and evening sky so some nine hours after observing the comet in the evening sky I observed it again in this morning. The dust tail appeared very feathered off to the right hand side, and it appeared to have changed since I observed it the night before:
Comet Ikeya Zhang April 6, 2002
Comet Ikeya Zhang, April 11, 2002. This night the comet showed some very interesting detail in the tails. The dust tail appeared as fine streamers behind the coma on the right side. It reminded me of some of the fainter wisp-like streamers I have seen when observing the Orion Nebula. Also, behind the coma and extending over towards the gas tail from approximately the 5:30 to 10:30 positions there appeared to be a faint wedge of lighter material.:
Comet Ikeya Zhang April 11, 2002
Comet Ikeya Zhang, April 21, 2002: The gas and dust tail were both visible behind the coma, the more prominent gas tail on the left, while the fainter dust tail on the right. The gas tail curved up and away from the coma on both sides, but was not as pronounced along the left edge as noted during the April 11th observation. However it did appear to have a couple of kinks along the left side. The gas tail had a multi-threaded appearance to it that extended from the coma to the left side, middle, and right side of the tail. Tail length was between 3 - 3.5 degrees. The dust tail appeared as fine strands of light off to the right of the coma. There was a dark gap or opening between the dust tail and gas tail.
Comet Ikeya Zhang April 21, 2002.html
Comet Ikeya Zhang, May 4, 2002. When I saw sketches and images of Comet R1 McNaught it reminded me of Ikeya Zhang:
Comet Ikeya Zhang May 4, 2002
Posted 20 June 2010 - 01:15 PM
Posted 20 June 2010 - 02:59 PM
Nice sketching, I remember this one very well. I got some great looks and made 2 crude sketches.
Posted 21 June 2010 - 04:16 AM
Thank you for your observations of Comet Ikeya-Zhang (153P/Ikeya-Zhang). I remember this comet as well and your observations agree with my own at the time. Ikeya-Zhang has an orbital period of 366.5 years (the longest orbital period of all periodic comets). It was first discovered by a Chinese astronomer in 1661 and picked up again by two astronomers (Daking Zhang (China) and Kaoru Ikeya (Japan)) on February 1, 2002. Your May 4, 2002 observation reminds me the most of Comet McNaught. Ihope that we all get a chance to observe this comet soon.
Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:22 AM
Thanks for the kind words. And sorry for the broken link . It's fixed now .
Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:25 AM
Thanks for the kind words, and glad to hear you got some good views and sketches of it as well. It was interesting to see how it changed over time.
Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:28 AM
Thanks for the kind words and glad you were able to observe the comet as well. It certainly has a long has an orbital period.