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Comet NEAT (C/2001 Q4) positions thru 5/17

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#1 BarrySimon615

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Posted 01 May 2004 - 08:26 PM

I have worked up a chart for Comet NEAT positions beginning on 5/6 for three days, then skip a few days to 5/11, and then positions again for 5/14, 5/15, 5/16 and 5/17.

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.

Barry Simon

Attached Thumbnails

  • 100840-Comet NEAT positions, magnitude and height.jpg


#2 Dennis

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Posted 01 May 2004 - 08:43 PM

Thanks Barry: After three failed attempts at Bradfield, I'm hoping to view Comet Neat (C/2001 Q4).

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. :bawling: Oh well, at least I enjoyed the attempt.

Hope to catch this one. :noway:
Thanks again!

#3 Special Ed

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Posted 01 May 2004 - 09:49 PM

Thanks Barry,

I intend to make every effort to observe and sketch this comet.

#4 jmoore

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Posted 02 May 2004 - 01:31 PM

yep...thanks, Barry.

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.

cheers,
jeff

#5 BarrySimon615

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Posted 02 May 2004 - 02:58 PM

Here are some photo tips -

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.

Barry Simon

#6 Scott Beith

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Posted 02 May 2004 - 04:53 PM

Thanks Barry,
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. :grin:
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. :waytogo:

#7 777Guy

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Posted 02 May 2004 - 06:08 PM

I just got back from flying two roundtrips across the north atlantic and had very clear skys but have not been able to locate the comet visually without aids. I was at 57*north and looked from north to south at angles up to 60* with no joy. Is it not visible at all right now? I started looking about an hour before sunrise, but then I was scooting along at about a 650 kt ground speed due to wind.

#8 BarrySimon615

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Posted 02 May 2004 - 10:27 PM

Comet NEAT is an evening comet and will rapidily be rising from the southwest horizon starting about now. A little higher each night. Due to atmospheric extinction you will probaby have to wait at least 1/2 hour after sunset to begin to see it. Look slightly east of Sirius in Canis Major. It will rise up over the next few weeks staying to the east of a line drawn between Sirius and Procyon and continuing up to it's meeting with the Beehive (M-44) on May 15th and 16th.

Barry Simon

#9 Tom L

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Posted 02 May 2004 - 10:54 PM

I'd like to invite everyone to post any photos in the Comet Photo contest in the photo contest forum. We're trying to capture all of our wayward visitors over the next few months and hope that all CN members that are photographing will also post them in the contest thread.

Comet Photography Contest Thread

Thanks, Tom

#10 777Guy

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 04:12 PM

Barry,
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.
Thanks,

#11 BarrySimon615

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 06:24 PM

Comet LINEAR and Bradfield are (were) the morning comets.

Barry Simon

#12 777Guy

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 06:31 PM

I knew that!

Thanks,

#13 nemo

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 01:19 PM

Barry,
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.
R/S,
Dan

#14 Dennis

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 10:01 PM

Skies have not been kind here lately. Around 9:00pm tonight I peaked out to see haze limited stars. Scope's in the shop so I pulled out my Obers. Very limited. Decided to try for NEAT. Went back inside to refer to my charts. Phone rang. My buddy Steve had NEAT in his binos. Just a fist width left of Procyon he said. As we talked, I walked out with my Obers, began viewing and bingo ... there it was. A large fuzzy ball! You could see that the fuzz was off-center and pulled off to the southeast. Very memorable image. :bugeyes:

#15 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 06:56 AM

You could see NEAT Dennis? I guess the clouds where thicker (with more light pollution) over here in the Boston area. Very disheartening, but tonight will be a new night with hopefully less--much much less, cloud cover.

#16 Dennis

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 08:42 AM

NW: Yes! Went from overcast to thin haze around 9:00pm. It was visible through the haze. Eventually it cleared up and I got to scan around with the Obers for awhile. It was great to see NEAT. Should be visible tonight also. Hope you catch a view!

#17 EdZ

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:16 AM

Dennis,

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.

edz

#18 Dennis

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:12 AM

NEAT was falling below the treeline at about 10:00pm. It was nice to finally see some stars.

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!

#19 EdZ

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:53 AM

I mistakenly thought Westport. either way not very far.

I'd like getting to gether to compare notes and just for a night out too.

edz

#20 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 11:04 AM

Thanks EdZ. That sounds wonderful! Keep me posted as well. My schedule is erratic with my other hobbies, but surely a date could be hammered out between us all.

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.

#21 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 07:27 AM

No go. I looked outside about 9:30pm last night and the clouds were rolling in rapidly and unfortunately, not leaving rapidly. Hopefully tonight will be merciful.

#22 Dennis

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 08:05 AM

I was able to view NEAT at about 9:00pm. Noticeably higher than last night. Clouds came, but then cleared out around 10:00. I brought out the Obers on tripod and my viewing chair and enjoyed the magic for 45 minutes. The night sky has changes alot since I've been able to view. Lots of new sights to the east. It will have to do for a while as you see below. This is a definite candidate for a cloudy nights logo!

Attached Thumbnails

  • 105666-Cloudy nights.jpg


#23 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 11:35 AM

You are getting all the weather breaks as of late Dennis. Those clouds last night came roaring in like something out of a bad horror movie and hung around. NOAA has pretty much the same forecast that you're showing us. However, I do think tonight will be the night! (fingers crossed!) :praying:

#24 Dennis

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 03:06 PM

Good luck NW! Tonight is looking excellent! I'm on a tennis court from 8-10 with obligatory end-of-season brews after, so enjoy for the both of us! :ubetcha:

#25 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 04:10 PM

I'll be watching tonight, and every night to the end of May. Last night after the roaring clouds left... Neat started to shine!


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