Comet NEAT (C/2001 Q4) positions thru 5/17
Posted 01 May 2004 - 08:26 PM
The chart is set for my location in New Orleans at 9:20 PM CDT on 5/11. Why 9;20 PM? It is the approximate end of astronomical twilight.
Magnitudes are projected and come from the COMET CIRCULARS. The magnitude could be brighter (or dimmer) than these projections.
The comet is denoted by the yellow asterik. The tail of the comet will point away from the lower right hand corner of the chart.
This will be a very well placed comet for all of us in the northern hemisphere and it will be visible at a convenient time. The magnitude estimates mean that it will be very easily seen from a dark location if the estimates hold up. It could potentially have a very nice tail and should be a great binocular object. Take advantage of the opportunities you have beginning next weekend and continuing thru
the following weekend. From 5/8 the comet begins to lose magnitude at a fairly steady clip. By the weekend of 5/21 the comet will have faded to about magnitude 2.5 to 3. A few days later the Moon becomes a real problem.
This could be the next really good comet and may be the best one we will be able to see for several years if not longer. Make time to see this one.
Posted 01 May 2004 - 08:43 PM
I got up at 4:30am for the past three mornings and drove 2 miles to a decent easterly viewing spot. Slight haze on the horizon. Oh well, at least I enjoyed the attempt.
Hope to catch this one.
Posted 01 May 2004 - 09:49 PM
I intend to make every effort to observe and sketch this comet.
Posted 02 May 2004 - 01:31 PM
i've been eagerly anticipating some views of this one. There's a nice article or two about it in the May issue of Astronomy.
i'm sure your chart will help.
Posted 02 May 2004 - 02:58 PM
While film photography is losing ground to digital, film photography will positively be the medium to work in for Comet NEAT. Most of us have point and shoot digital cameras and they produce too much noise to attempt comet shots. Film lends itself well to comet photographs
assuming you have a driven mount and a good alignment.
One variable still unknown is the length of the tail of this comet. That will determine just what camera lens you should use. Another factor will be if you have the capability of rotating your camera rig on it's mount to better compose your photograph. To do that I would
highly recommend either the Bogen/Manfrotto 3028 or 3025 heads. These heads attach easily to a piggyback platform and allow full 360 degree rotation and full tilt capability. They are very sturdy and will hold a 35 mm camera with up to a 200 mm lens well. Cost is under $50.00.
If your photographic interest is either just the comet with tail, or the comet and other object (M-44, M-46), consider the area of sky you need to cover in relation to how much area each of these lenses cover:
50 mm 27.5 by 41 degrees
75 mm 18.3 by 27.5 degrees
100 mm 13.75 by 20.5 degrees
135 mm 10 by 15 degrees
200 mm 7x 10 degrees
300 mm 4.5 x 6.8 degrees
500 mm 2.75 x 4.1 degrees
(Comet Hyakutake (C/1996 B2) was so long in 1996 that even a 24 mm wide angle lens could not capture it all from a truly dark location!) I would also recommend that any 50 mm lens be stopped down to about f/2.8. Image quality, especially near the field periphery, is really
not very good with most 50 mm lens in the wide open position. Additonally vignetting will cause hot spotting where the center of the exposure will look brighter than
the edges. Stopping down will improve this as well.
Exposure times with camera settings between f/2.8 and f/4 and 200 ISO film will likely be best in the 5 minute range when the comet is low, and between 10 and 15 minutes when the comet is near the Beehive.
Posted 02 May 2004 - 04:53 PM
Your calculations for New Orleans will be perfect for me in Gulfport. If these clouds ever decide to go elsewhere, I may get a chance to see the darn thing.
So far in my observing career, comets have eluded me. This is a great way to introduce myself to this aspect of astronomy. Thanks again Sir.
Posted 02 May 2004 - 06:08 PM
Posted 02 May 2004 - 10:27 PM
Posted 02 May 2004 - 10:54 PM
Comet Photography Contest Thread
Posted 03 May 2004 - 04:12 PM
I am confussed...again! For some reason I was thinking Comet NEAT was now a morning view. Thanks for your info, I should have checked with your chart and reviewed S&T before I ran amok.
Posted 03 May 2004 - 06:24 PM
Posted 06 May 2004 - 01:19 PM
As all ways you have provided some very practical,useful and easy to understand information. I printed out your graph&photo and will most certainly be using it in the next few nights God willing and if the weather cooperates.
Posted 09 May 2004 - 10:01 PM
Posted 10 May 2004 - 06:56 AM
Posted 10 May 2004 - 08:42 AM
Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:16 AM
I woke up last night at midnight and looked out the window to see very clear sky, but just couldn't get out. Will try tonight.
We need to plan a New England night out. With you to the south of me and NW to the north, I'm thinking I'll email you guys next time I do a get together in my fromt yard. I have two scout nights out in the next 3 weeks and I need to plan two school nights out, for a small class, within the next month. I'll keep you posted if that sounds like a good idea to you.
Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:12 AM
Night out sounds great! Do keep us posted. Weeknights (except Tues)are best for me. I'm only about 40 minutes north of you. Will also want to compare notes on Katahdin!
Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:53 AM
I'd like getting to gether to compare notes and just for a night out too.
Posted 10 May 2004 - 11:04 AM
I guess it cleared up later on in the evening. Rats! Well tonight's weather is looking iffy, but hopefully we'll all get a peek of NEAT.
Posted 11 May 2004 - 07:27 AM
Posted 11 May 2004 - 08:05 AM
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Posted 11 May 2004 - 03:06 PM
Posted 11 May 2004 - 04:10 PM