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ISON, ENCKE, and LOVEJOY Visual Observations ONLY!

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#1 aa6ww

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:56 PM

I was hoping all the Comet threads in these forums wouldn't again all turn into a astrophoto displays, so Ive created this thread of our 3 local comets for people to speak Visually about them, and about the gear they use, in addition to the sky darkness conditions used to observe our 3 comets visually.
Myself and all the astronomers I observe with are Visual astronomers, and we enjoy real time views of the night sky, not the astrophotoshop views so many display out here.
For those also interested in Visual astronomy also, of our 3 visitors, Id like to hear what people are using to observe our 3 comets with, and the gear they use for their visual observations.
Please keep the astro photophoto's to other threads.
Im personally am using my 7" 180mm refractor, as well as my larger 11 and 14" SCT's to hunt down and observe the 3 comets, but have been plagued by mediocre skies up to this point.
Myself, and I'm sure many others, are interested in Visual reports on what astronomers are observing, how the comets looks with specific gear used, for visual sightings and the sky conditions used to make these observations.
I am also interested in Binocular astronomers sightings, as I'm sure many are also, who are taking out moderate size to large size binoculars, to hunt down and observe our 3 comets at this point.
Does anyone care to share their visual reports, without using astrophotshop images of their comet sightings,
Sketches are always welcome, of course, since they are always much more realistic in reporting visual observations.

Again, please refrain from posting astro photos in this thread, to keep those of us interested in visual observations, interested in participating in this thread. This would also give inexperienced astronomers with new gear an opportunity to gauge what they should expect to see with the gear they have and the sky conditions they observe in.

This should bring out the real visual interest in us comet hunters.

Thanks in advance for anyone participating and sticking to the subject!!

....Ralph in Sacramento,

#2 Kevdog

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 01:57 AM

On October 4th I found Ison with my 18" Obsession in yellow zone skies. But it was just a slightly fuzzy "star" and I couldn't make out any tail.

We're hoping it puts on at least as good a show as PanStaars did, which I'm assuming it will as it brightens.

I didn't find Encke, but the hops were much harder than Ison, and it may have been another slightly fuzzy "star" that I overlooked.

#3 Ed D

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 09:56 AM

Earlier this week the sky was crystal clear and absolutely perfect here in Miami, the legendary Florida sky. The light pollution to my East was also much lower than usual. I was using my 70mm f/12.9 achromat and decided to find ISON. WOW, was that one a challange! I finally found a very dim little star that appeared somewhat fuzzy and with a subdued but distinct teal color - ISON. The following morning I tried again to no avail. Tomorrow morning I will hopefully be observing ISON with my 6" f/8 planetary Dob, and I'll post my observations.

I'm also going to try for 2P/Encke. I have more time to observe Sunday morning than the 1/2hr during weekdays. I'll post on that one, too.

Unfortunately, Lovejoy is out of reach of my scopes (mag 12.84) even if I didn't have to deal with heavy LP.

Ed D

#4 MikeBOKC

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 09:57 AM

I enjoy seeing reports from both visual (like me) observers and AP mavens. Thanks for starting this thread. Hopefully the eyeball reports will start tumbling in as we move through October.

#5 aa6ww

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 04:52 PM

Thanks for the reports so far. I think this is nice, being able to see realistic visual reports from astronomers using regular gear. I keep talking to a guy who doesn't have a clue where things are in the sky, but hes got an 18 megapixel camera on a small Chinese 80mm triplet and hes been just randomly taking a barrage of pictures of the sky in the general area where these comets are, then brings his results back home and tries to analyze every point on his photos for signs of these comets. I just think this is ridiculous, but everyone has their own way of doing things I guess.

Nevertheless, the moon sets at 12:30 tonight, so I'm going out to my new dark site and starting to set up at Midnight, and plan to be up till sunrise, giving it my best shot at at least comet ISON.

I'll report back what I find, I'm taking out my C11 with my 4" Orion refractor mounted on top of my scope tonight if the weather holds out, otherwise I'm probably gonna take out my 6" F/5 refractor. It should be pretty fun.

...Ralph

#6 aa6ww

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 07:16 PM

The Sky live is listing ISON at mag 10.18 today, and ENCKE at mag 8.6, those aren't too bad for smaller 6" scopes. I'm in the orange zone though.

#7 SporQ

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 07:19 PM

I like the way you think, Ralph. :)

Good luck to you. I have been trying for ISON too and I will sound off when I find it.

#8 Mike C

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 07:34 PM

This is certainly a thread I'll be keeping an eye on, as I look forward to tracking these comets! Good idea to keep it visual only, though I was guilty of some of the image posts previously.

Hope to post some observations before too long, once weather improves and the Moon wanes again.

Regards,

#9 kfiscus

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 09:09 PM

Using the Z12 in my signature, my buddy and I found ISON on Oct. 2 and 8. It was easily found but a great disappointment. I described it as a 10th mag planetary nebula- compact, non-stellar, a very pale blue (so faint that I wondered if I was just being influenced by the photos we've all seen already.)
Oct. 8 we found Encke. It was very easily seen in my 24 Pan as a large diffuse glow with a brighter center. It faded to invisibility in my 13 because of its low surface brightness.

#10 kcolter

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 08:27 AM

Saw Ison for the first time this morning in 20 inch Dob. It was very dim and took me longer than I expected to find. I had no luck with 11 inch Dob on three previous attempts. It is hard for me to imagine this comet making it to naked eye visibility.

#11 mattyfatz

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 08:37 AM

Saw Ison for the first time this morning in 20 inch Dob. It was very dim and took me longer than I expected to find. I had no luck with 11 inch Dob on three previous attempts. It is hard for me to imagine this comet making it to naked eye visibility.

You never know.. Remember comet Holmes.. Mag 17 to 2.4 in less than 48 hours.. And that was on its way out!

#12 Dean Norris

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 07:09 PM

I observed Comet ISON this morning (10/13/12) through my 10" f/6 newt. The sky was dark and transparency was decent I was able to view NGC 2024 the Flame Nebulae with direct vision, right before finding the comet. The seeing was marginal leaning towards poor since Jupiter was showing some detail but very fuzzy. I found the comet using a 14mm 100* ep at 110x magnification. It was not easy to find. Around 5:15am local time ( 13:15 UT) after 20 minutes of looking I saw a dim object which for me resembled a flat amorphous galaxy. No nucleus or coma was seen on the comet. It was between 2 stars which I estimated at 10.5 and 10th magnitude. The comet was seen with direct vision but averted vision helped some. The comet was closer to the 10.5 star. I also observed it at 171x but the 110x view was best. I observed the comet for a half hour and stopped when I noticed the sky lightening.

Last week I tried to find it with no avail. So I'm assuming that it's brighten some in a week.

Good seeing and clear skies everyone. May this comet be one that we will long remember.

Dean

#13 kcolter

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 07:35 AM

You never know.. Remember comet Holmes.. Mag 17 to 2.4 in less than 48 hours.. And that was on its way out! [/quote]

An excellent point! Thanks for the reminder.

#14 BrooksObs

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 10:39 AM

The following observations were made this morning between October 14.38 and 14.40UT .

2P/ENCKE Just visible with hand-held 15x70B, very faint, circular and diffuse, roughly 3'-4' in size under Bortle class 4-5 skies, but with more than a little humidity present, perhaps a trace of ground fog too. Would be very difficult without resorting to a telescope at most locations where much more than very modest light pollution prevails. Comet is now in its very rapid brightening phase and probably would have been an easy object in large binoculars in just a few more days if it were not for the full moon entering the immediate pre-dawn morning sky Oct. 15/16th.

C/ISON Disappointingly faint object, brightening very slowly. Shows somewhat more condensation than two weeks ago, but hasn't brightened by more than a few tenths. With a 16-inch at 114x: magnitude 11.1, coma diameter between 1' and 2'. Coma probably slightly elongated. Comet seems to be brightening at the rate anticipated for a simple reflecting body, more-or-less in the manner exhibited by C/Kohoutek, ONLY WORSE! Comet situated deep within the morning Zodiacal Light.

BrooksObs

#15 maugi88

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 05:00 PM

Can someone please describe how to find ISON

#16 Kevdog

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 05:20 PM

Can someone please describe how to find ISON


It's just at Leo's front "feet".

Heaven's Above ISON finder charts

Note that the time is GMT time.

#17 kfiscus

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 06:43 PM

The site Comet Chasing has EXCELLENT finder charts.

#18 maugi88

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 07:08 PM

Ok great suggestions guys.

Ken comet chasing is really cool

#19 astrocy

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 10:47 AM

I was unable to find 2P/Encke in 15x70 binoculars early this morning despite knowing its exact position and observing under a clear and reasonably dark sky. Weather permitting I will try again tomorrow when the comet will appear next to the star 21 LMi and will hopefully be easier to find.

#20 aa6ww

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:19 PM

Skyhound usually has pretty good star charts on the current comets in the night sky. I generally use them as my starting point:

http://cometchasing.skyhound.com/

The sky live dot com also has some good information:

http://theskylive.com/comets

But my favorite one is using Calsky.com where we get the clear sky clocks.

To get to that link, first go here:

http://www.calsky.com/

then click on comets which will take you here:

http://www.calsky.com/cs.cgi/Comets?


On this particular page, just click on the link that says "starchart" next to any of the comets names, that will get you a detailed accurate chart of where the comet is. I like how you can click on the telrad box so you get a true scale on where the comets are relative to other objects.

Good luck!!

... Ralph

#21 aa6ww

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:25 PM

I managed to see both ISON and ENCKE last sat night using my C11. Both were very dim, but not so difficult to find, since Encke was just a few degs from Alpha Lynx, and ISON is beside Mars.

Both were found at about 100x using my 26 nagler, and both looked their best at about 140x using my 20 Nagler.. Not lots of details on either, but both very fun and exciting to finally locate.
I think during the next new moon, both should be visible in smaller scopes. At this point, compared to PannStarr and Lemon, both should be much more enjoyable to observe because we wont be racing to see these before the sun sets. Both, along with Lovejoy, should all make nice telescope late night comets very soon, instead of early morning comets.

....Ralph in Sac.

#22 BrooksObs

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:51 PM

Astrocy - the trick at this stage of the game is to look for something with the general appearance of a small M33. P/Encke shows essentially zero condensation with big binoculars at the moment, being just a totally diffuse mass of very low surface brightness. Next month it will progressively shrink in size, become significantly more condensed and decidedly brighter as it approaches the Sun.

BrooksObs

#23 astrocy

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 09:42 PM

This morning I managed to see 2P/Encke in the same field as 21 LMi. It appeared quite faint, but it was just visible with direct vision in 15x70 binoculars. Averted vision helped and showed it as a small nebulous object with low surface brightness and no significant central condensation.

#24 Wes Stone

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 11:16 PM

I observed these three comets between moonset and twilight on the morning of October 15. It was 23 degrees F, but felt a lot colder. Limiting magnitude was 6.8-6.9 overhead, but there was a slight milky look lower on the horizon, and patches of river fog sometimes drifted by down at ISON's altitude. The zodiacal light was very bright just before the start of astronomical twilight.

I went for C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) first, as it was in a more transparent area of the sky. It was a quick and easy starhop from Delta Monocerotis, and obvious in my 10" Dob at all powers. Lovejoy seemed a bit less condensed (DC=3 with a very faint stellar nucleus) than it did 10 days ago. There was a parabolic inner coma about 1.5' across, brighter on the edges and spreading into a short, broad fan in PA~300. This was surrounded by a large, diffuse halo that was round and about 5' in diameter as seen through the 10" Dob. I estimated Lovejoy's magnitude at 10.0.

I also managed to see Lovejoy through 10x42 binoculars. It was just a very faint hazy spot perhaps 9' in diameter. With binoculars, I estimated the magnitude as 9.0.

Comet 2P/Encke has also changed since my last observation. It has gotten quite a bit brighter and a little more condensed. Encke was quite easy in 10x42 binoculars, appearing as a round little blob about 10' in diameter with soft edges and a slightly brighter center. I estimated its magnitude as 8.1.

In the 10" Dob at 47x, Encke showed a small central condensation near the western edge of a slightly lopsided coma. Several faint jets curved out to form a fan to the east, including a central spine about 7' long in PA~80. The longer I looked, the more prominent the jets appeared against the faint glow of the coma.

Once again, I saved C/2012 S1 (ISON) for last. After a starhop from Mars, I found the comet in a sparse telescopic star field. The comet was near the center of a misshapen pentagon of 10th-magnitude stars. ISON has grown and brightened in the past 10 days, and this morning I was able to see a stellar nucleus for the first time. At 47x, I estimated the coma diameter as 4' and the tail length as 10' centered in PA 290. Coma magnitude was 10.0. At 165x, the tail was brighter along the central spine and on its southern edge. I was not able to see ISON in binoculars.

I sketched all 3 comets (Encke very roughly), but I probably won't get them posted to my website for a week or so due to work and vacation.

--
Wes Stone
Chiloquin, OR
http://skytour.homestead.com

#25 aa6ww

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 03:04 AM

Chiloquin, OR is showing as been in the green zone, borderline in the black zone. What color zone are you in?
Im trying to gauge what size optics are able to see these comets based on color zones. This could be why some can see these objects in 70mm binoculars, and some can barely see them in 10" scopes.
23deg seems very cold to me. Ive observed in colder weather but have been ready for it. I caught myself during the last new moon freezing in weather only into the high 30's. Myself and one other I was observing with both were caught off guard by how the temperature fell drastically after maybe 2am.
Next time we will definitely bring our cold weather gear, including propane heaters.


...Ralph

I observed these three comets between moonset and twilight on the morning of October 15. It was 23 degrees F, but felt a lot colder. Limiting magnitude was 6.8-6.9 overhead, but there was a slight milky look lower on the horizon, and patches of river fog sometimes drifted by down at ISON's altitude. The zodiacal light was very bright just before the start of astronomical twilight.

I went for C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) first, as it was in a more transparent area of the sky. It was a quick and easy starhop from Delta Monocerotis, and obvious in my 10" Dob at all powers. Lovejoy seemed a bit less condensed (DC=3 with a very faint stellar nucleus) than it did 10 days ago. There was a parabolic inner coma about 1.5' across, brighter on the edges and spreading into a short, broad fan in PA~300. This was surrounded by a large, diffuse halo that was round and about 5' in diameter as seen through the 10" Dob. I estimated Lovejoy's magnitude at 10.0.

I also managed to see Lovejoy through 10x42 binoculars. It was just a very faint hazy spot perhaps 9' in diameter. With binoculars, I estimated the magnitude as 9.0.

Comet 2P/Encke has also changed since my last observation. It has gotten quite a bit brighter and a little more condensed. Encke was quite easy in 10x42 binoculars, appearing as a round little blob about 10' in diameter with soft edges and a slightly brighter center. I estimated its magnitude as 8.1.

In the 10" Dob at 47x, Encke showed a small central condensation near the western edge of a slightly lopsided coma. Several faint jets curved out to form a fan to the east, including a central spine about 7' long in PA~80. The longer I looked, the more prominent the jets appeared against the faint glow of the coma.

Once again, I saved C/2012 S1 (ISON) for last. After a starhop from Mars, I found the comet in a sparse telescopic star field. The comet was near the center of a misshapen pentagon of 10th-magnitude stars. ISON has grown and brightened in the past 10 days, and this morning I was able to see a stellar nucleus for the first time. At 47x, I estimated the coma diameter as 4' and the tail length as 10' centered in PA 290. Coma magnitude was 10.0. At 165x, the tail was brighter along the central spine and on its southern edge. I was not able to see ISON in binoculars.

I sketched all 3 comets (Encke very roughly), but I probably won't get them posted to my website for a week or so due to work and vacation.

--
Wes Stone
Chiloquin, OR
http://skytour.homestead.com








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