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R U preparing in advance for the upcoming comets?
      #5702908 - 02/27/13 05:21 AM

Has anyone out here done any advance planning or preparations for observing these upcoming comets? Either something new your looking forward to trying out or planning on using some new equipment or techniques?

For me, much depends on how large these comets actually become for us. For me, capturing the entire comet in one field of view has always been a spectacular sight.
I remember Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 fragmenting back in 2006:

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap060504.html

and seeing this comet in one field of view with my 6" refractor was an unreal sight that none of the other scopes I was around could produce.

Now with both a wider field 6" refractor, my 150 F/5 celestron, and my 180mm/F6, Im hoping I can capture these comets in one giant field of view.

I have a new 2" Swan band comet filter I'll be trying out for the first time, and this week I plan to try out my .63 focal reducer in all of my scopes, for straight thru viewing, to see if i can get an even wider field of view with as much aperture as i can, while using my Denkmeyer binoviewers with a set of 24mm Pan Optics. Since these comets wont get very high in the sky, straight through viewing should be comfortable. With the focal reducer inserted into my refractors, I could approach similar fields of views with 2 eyes, as i can with one using my 41 Panoptic. We'll see how that works, i does work very nicely with my TV-85 this way, in straight through viewing with the reducer with the binoviewer, so I'll test it with my larger refractors this weekend.
Aside from that. I just plan to be out and set up before the comet appears, and get off work early around the March 12th time to set up at a dark open sight that gives me a flat shot at the horizon to the west and north.
Because we will probably only get an hr or so of real observing time every night, I plan to do as much preparation in advance before these big events.
Even trying out these same techniques with smaller scopes, down to my 80mm F/5 with a 2" back, and last but not least, using my tiny FS-60 if possible, for the ultra wide views.
Despite the wide field views, higher power viewing of the coma is also fun to see, maybe even seeing jets spraying out away from the coma.

This to me anyways, is too big an event to just go out and setup anything, at a mediocre location, and just see what happens. I have too many friends like that, and its very annoying.

Even cleaning up eyepieces before hand, and getting my bearings as to exactly where the comet will be, helps.

Anyone else doing more than the minimum, to get ready for these upcoming events?

Its definitely gonna be a fun year for comet lovers!!

By the way, does anyone know what the predictions are as to how large these things will be for us to see, or how large they are right now?

...Ralph


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