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The Comets Are Here!

Observing Binoculars Observing Report SCT Reflector
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#1 SNH

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Posted 10 October 2021 - 04:36 PM

It’s been a while, but there is now one comet bright enough to be visible in nothing more than my 5.1-inch reflector in the evening sky and at least four more in the morning sky!

 

At the beginning of last month, I managed to nab C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRRS) in Hercules for the first time in my 5.1-inch. But it has and will continue to brighten before its perihelion passage in December of 2022. This morning I took a swing at five in the morning sky and ended up batting .800.

 

First I went after 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann in SW Auriga since I knew it had undergone a rare "super outburst" two weeks ago. It was easy to find and see just off of Iota Aur and looked like a missing globular cluster (sorry nearby Pal 2!) with its “large” (for being over 5 AU away) coma and smooth overall brightness. It was the second time I’d ever seen ol’ 29P and was amazed that it was so bright I could see it in my 8x56 binoculars…incredible!

 

Next I dropped down to Zeta Tau to find 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which had eluded me during its previous perihelion. This time I found a small little coma (compared to nearby M1) that displayed a bright core. This last feature made it bright enough to be visible in my 12x60 binoculars. I will continue to brighten a little more for another month.

 

Continuing on to the southeast along a line drawn from 29P through 67P, I arrived along the Orion/Gemini border. A quick hop over from Xi Ori in my 10-inch in the revealed 4P/Faye. In my 5.1-inch at 27x it had a little size to it but wasn’t easy to see considering how diffuse its coma was. I understand that it passed perihelion last month and will reach maximum brightness in the next week or so.

 

The final comet I was successful in seeing was C/2019 L3 (ATLAS), which was in Lynx north of Castor. It took a bit of work to find in a faint star field (had to use NGC 2419!), but was visible in my 5.1-inch as a bright but very compact and small coma. Like 29P, I found that it was also visible in my 8x56 binoculars, but it was harder.

 

I found the star-field for C/2021 A1 (Leonard) in lower Ursa Major with my 10-inch but failed to see the comet. In my defense though, it was only 25° up when the sky started to brighten. Hope to bag it soon so that I can see how long I can keep track of it.

 

 

As always, I use https://cometchasing.skyhound.com/ to guide me!

Scott


Edited by SNH, 10 October 2021 - 04:39 PM.

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#2 LivingNDixie

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Posted 10 October 2021 - 07:53 PM

Great observations. How dark are your skies?

#3 SNH

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Posted 10 October 2021 - 08:18 PM

Last night when I was observing, my SQM-L was reading 21.25 mpsas. That's dark, but it was a notch below what my average is. Of course, I have no streetlights out here in the country trying to shine right down on me...

 

Scott



#4 Special Ed

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 09:10 AM

Nice observational report, Scott.  smile.gif   And Skyhound is a great resource.  There has been a lot of interest in the comets in the Sketching forum--see here and here.



#5 SNH

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Posted 12 October 2021 - 10:29 AM

YESSSSSS! I saw C/2021 A1 (Leonard) this morning because it was so clear after a minor cold-front moved through!! It was around magnitude +12.0 - 12.5 like predicted I'd say. It was small but had just enough central brightening that I could see it in my 5.1-inch at 59x after spotting it in my 10-inch at 117x. I wonder if anyone else has seen it visually?

 

Scott


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#6 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 10:32 PM

https://skyandtelesc...et-leonard-get/



#7 Vickx

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 04:40 AM

Scott, great to see you so happy seeing these six bright comets.

I also observed on Saturday night but using my 20" and under SQM 21.6 skies. I saw 22 comets that night including C/2021 A1 (Leonard) and others.

Vic


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#8 SNH

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 09:16 AM

Scott, great to see you so happy seeing these six bright comets.

I also observed on Saturday night but using my 20" and under SQM 21.6 skies. I saw 22 comets that night including C/2021 A1 (Leonard) and others.

Vic

WOW. That is simultaneously impressive but also painful sounding considering how faint some of them must have been!!! Over on https://cometchasing.skyhound.com/, he only lists 38 that are predicted to be brighter than magnitude +16.0 across the entire sky for this month. I'm guessing you had to see a few magnitude +15.0 comets to get to your impressive number?

 

Scott



#9 timokarhula

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 05:32 AM

Scott, great to see you so happy seeing these six bright comets.

I also observed on Saturday night but using my 20" and under SQM 21.6 skies. I saw 22 comets that night including C/2021 A1 (Leonard) and others.

Vic

Impressive!  A world record?

 

/Timo Karhula



#10 Vickx

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 11:00 AM

Record? I don't think so. Several more were possible. I didn't want to spend the whole night with comets.

Yes, there are many comets between 15 and 16 mag there. That's why I've got 20". But the guys with bigger scopes can easily see more.

Vic



#11 JOEinCO

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 12:38 PM

G

 

Record? I don't think so. Several more were possible. I didn't want to spend the whole night with comets.

Yes, there are many comets between 15 and 16 mag there. That's why I've got 20". But the guys with bigger scopes can easily see more.

 

Ol' Chuck, "The Ferret of Comets", would be quite jealous.... lol.gif 



#12 SNH

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 07:02 AM

It has been just over three weeks since I last saw comet Leonard and it has brightened up nicely (over 1.5 magnitudes brighter now). It was about magnitude +10.3 this morning and just visible in my 8x56 binoculars. In my 130mm reflector at 59x it displayed a broad tail stretching out to about 6' to the WNW. Looking forward to seeing it cruise by some bright galaxies in the coming weeks!

 

Scott


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#13 timokarhula

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Posted 06 November 2021 - 08:37 AM

I got my first view of C/2021 A1 (Leonard) this morning (on Nov. 6.18 UT)  With my Canon 18x50 IS binoculars, I estimated Leonard as bright as magnitude 9.5, coma diameter 5' and DC=4/.  With 25x100 binoculars I saw a stellar pseudonucleus of 11-12 magnitude.

 

/Timo Karhula


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#14 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 08 November 2021 - 11:51 AM

I observed the periodic comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Friday night using the Naylor Observatory's 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain at 170 and 216x.  The comet was approaching Pollux at the time.

 

https://www.cometcha.../comets/67P.pdf
 

I've included a screen capture from Heavens Above showing the comet's position that night.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Comet 67P 11-6-21 Heavens Above.JPG


#15 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 08 November 2021 - 11:58 AM

Here's another finder chart for 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

 

https://skyandtelesc...2021-ST-map.jpg



#16 JOEinCO

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Posted 09 November 2021 - 10:54 AM

I observed the periodic comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Friday night using the Naylor Observatory's 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain at 170 and 216x......

 

Any comments on it's appearance/magnitude Dave?



#17 ssmith

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Posted 09 November 2021 - 11:17 AM

Photos taken with my C9.25 - I was expecting good things from Comet Leonard and it didn’t disappoint, but 67/P really surprised me with its brightness.

 

Both photos are single frames - Leonard ISO 3200 60 sec exposure, 67/P ISO 3200 40 sec exposure.

 

Comet Leonard C9 11-8-21 043 edit small.jpg

 

Comet C-G C9 11-8-21 080 3200 60s Non Linear small.jpg


Edited by ssmith, 09 November 2021 - 11:34 AM.

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#18 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 09 November 2021 - 02:05 PM

Any comments on it's appearance/magnitude Dave?

The comet's coma was fairly easy to see but I was not able to detect a tail.  There was a noticeable pseudo-nucleus.



#19 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 09 November 2021 - 02:08 PM

I observed 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko again last night using the Naylor Observatory's 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain at 170 and 216x.  I also used 116x.  The best view was at 216x.  The comet formed a distinctive V-shape with the faint field stars seen in Steve's image.

I was unable to detect the comet using Canon IS 15x50s under the observatory's orange-zone skies.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Comet 67P 11-9-21 Heavens Above.JPG


#20 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 09 November 2021 - 02:13 PM

I also observed Comet C/2019 L3 (ATLAS) in Lynx at 170 and 216x.  It was about the same brightness as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

 

I took a shot at Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) but it was still low in altitude at the time and I was unable to locate it.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Comet C 2019 L3 ATLAS 11-9-21 Heavens Above.JPG


#21 JOEinCO

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Posted 09 November 2021 - 05:49 PM

Thanks Dave!


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#22 kosmosoved

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Posted 10 November 2021 - 02:21 PM

Photos taken with my C9.25 - I was expecting good things from Comet Leonard and it didn’t disappoint, but 67/P really surprised me with its brightness.

 

Both photos are single frames - Leonard ISO 3200 60 sec exposure, 67/P ISO 3200 40 sec exposure.

 

attachicon.gifComet Leonard C9 11-8-21 043 edit small.jpg

 

attachicon.gifComet C-G C9 11-8-21 080 3200 60s Non Linear small.jpg

ssmith, great shot of a comet Leonard! Shared it with friends https://vk.com/wall-96575866_12139

 

Thanks! Clear sky!


Edited by kosmosoved, 10 November 2021 - 02:23 PM.


#23 Rbuckyfuller

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 10:16 AM

This has inspired me to try to view Leonard.  Is it already part of most go-to databases?  If so, what are the standard designations of comets in the databases?   I'm on Meade's Audiostar platform and I haven't tried to look at a comet yet.

 

Or is this the type of thing you have to track down manually?

 



#24 aa6ww

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 06:39 PM

I'll be checking every morning for the next 3 mornings for a few of these comets, if the is no early morning fog here in N. California. 

I'll use my C8HD and my AVx mount so I'll be cheating and just plug in coordinates I'll pull off of Stellarium. 

Stellarium is showing Leonard should clear the tree's in my neighborhood by 2am so I'll be checking every morning maybe around 1am for fog and clouds.

Should be pretty fun since its always fun to do back yard astronomy.

 

...Ralph



#25 Napp

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 07:05 PM

Don’t miss Comet Leonard passing very close to M3 in the next few hours.  They should still be in the same eyepiece field for us in the USA in the morning hours.  Here’s my DSLR image from this morning:  https://www.cloudyni...-a1/?p=11536905




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