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Comet visible in Texas Late 60’s - Early 70’s

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#1 rkrdr

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 12:01 PM

All the excitement around Comet Atlas has me remembering the naked eye comets I have seen in my lifetime.

I can remember two comets that were visible naked eye, with obvious nucleus and tail.

The easy memory was C/1995 O1(Hale-Bopp) in March of 1997 in south Texas.

I was able to recreate it on SkySafari with the relevant date/location/time.

The difficult memory is a smaller comet (still obvious nucleus and tail) I observed one evening in south Texas as a boy. The year would have been between 1966 and 1972.

I’ve searched everywhere and can only come up with a list of great comets that do not fit my memory as to location, date parameter, and observation time.

Does anyone remember a naked eye comet visible in the after sunset, in south Texas, in the late 60’s - early 70’s?

Typing the question out makes it feel like a ridiculous ask, but maybe, just maybe, someone has a better memory.

Thanks!

Eddie T.



#2 NorthernlatAK

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 12:05 PM

Comet West maybe? That was '76 though... Ikeya-seki was '65 or '66...

Edited by NorthernlatAK, 26 March 2020 - 12:11 PM.


#3 eros312

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 12:10 PM

Comet Bennett maybe? 1970.


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#4 Jim Davis

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 12:13 PM

May be one listed here: http://www.phys.ttu....zprof/c1970.htm



#5 Al Paslow

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 01:22 PM

Comet Bennett was probably the most likely.

 

It was naked eye with a long tail and was marvelous in March and April 1970. It was the ninth object discovered in 1969 but didn't hit naked eye brilliance until the following year.

 

It was the first comet i ever observed, and was a beautiful object in my homemade 8 inch F-8 reflector.

 

Those were the days - low light pollution and a nice bright comet with lots of interest in the Apollo flights to the moon!

 

Al

 

I got a picture of it somewhere maybe, if I find it I'll scan and post it.


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#6 SabiaJD

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 08:44 AM

"The difficult memory is a smaller comet (still obvious nucleus and tail) I observed one evening in south Texas as a boy. The year would have been between 1966 and 1972."

 

Comet Bennett  was viewed in the morning sky before sunrise. I have fond memories of  viewing this with my small refractor scope. Maybe a search of the ALPO comet photo section will help jog your memory?


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#7 rkrdr

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 08:53 AM

Thank you all, for the excellent suggestions and leads!
With your help, I believe that I have found the comet that has been nestled in my memory all these years.

C/1969 T1 (Tago-Sato-Kosaka) a naked eye comet observed in south Texas in January of 1970.

I looked up all the suggestions in SkySafari on the relevant dates and times for each comet.

C/1969 T1 was reportedly ~magnitude 3 with a tail 7 degrees long.

Again, thank you, everyone.

I hope that Comet Atlas brightens enough to be observable naked eye with an obvious tail!

It would be nice to view it with my children and grandchildren.

Eddie T


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#8 George N

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 09:07 AM

"The difficult memory is a smaller comet (still obvious nucleus and tail) I observed one evening in south Texas as a boy. The year would have been between 1966 and 1972."

 

Comet Bennett  was viewed in the morning sky before sunrise. I have fond memories of  viewing this with my small refractor scope. Maybe a search of the ALPO comet photo section will help jog your memory?

I remember seeing it quite distinctly from Fort Hood - early morning. At that time Army battalions still held "morning formation" - and I, as "Staff Duty Officer" - and just a 2nd LT - was incharge of the entire battalion (700+) formation. I had a REALLY hard time paying attention to what I should be doing as I faced East with the comet in full and dramatic view. I'm sure all those 700 guys were thinking "What is he doing? We want to go to breakfast!" cool.gif 
 

It was one of the better naked-eye comets I've seen.


Edited by George N, 28 March 2020 - 09:08 AM.

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#9 Bob LaFleur

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 01:49 PM

I am glad to hear others discussing Comet Bennett which was 50 years ago this month.  20 degree tail at 1st magnitude.  I remember it looked like someone had taken a paintbrush to the sky. 


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#10 chrysalis

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 03:33 PM

This was my first comet. My best friend growing up was also heavily into astronomy. So we had a sleepover to get out before dawn to see the comet. I set my 4.25" Edmund telescope up in a different part of the tiny back yard so as to make the most of the easterly view. When I looked up after some time, I saw the Great Square of Pegasus. But something was subtly wrong with it..

 

Then I realized that the "star" I mistook for Beta Pegasi (Scheat) was actually Comet Bennett! Once I got over the feeling that my stomach had dropped out, I could perceive the tail...in my memory it was only about 7° or so, but I was a super novice in those days with only ~4 years of experience...but in those days I lived, ate, and slept astronomy!!!


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