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Comet Watching

Went out last night for a look at Comet McNaught. I've been trying to see it for days but have been frustrated by clouds and smoke from bushfires. Anyhow, it really is spectacular - better than any other comet I've ever seen.

Some pics from one of the guys at the office


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
24th Jan, 2007 07:56 (UTC)
Where exactly is it? I gather it's too far south to be visible from, say, 38° N. Someone said on the radio a few days ago that it had been briefly visible from up here but wasn't any more.
24th Jan, 2007 08:46 (UTC)
If you turn towards the Moon, it is at about 10 o'clock. It can be seen of a morning, from about an hour before sunrise, and in the evening, from twilight till a couple of hours after sunset (around 2230). On a really clear night, the tail sweeps across the sky.

I believe that it was briefly visible in the Northern hemisphere about a week ago but no longer. (Where are you? San Francisco?)
25th Jan, 2007 07:05 (UTC)
If you turn towards the Moon, it is at about 10 o'clock

You'd presumably be facing northwest, and 10 o'clock would put the comet a little higher in the sky than the Moon. Which would mean that if I turned toward the Moon (facing southwest) then the comet would be at about 4 o'clock, lower in the sky than the Moon. But how far from the Moon -- only in Cetus, or clear below my horizon?

Where are you? San Francisco?

Not far from. That bright glow on my western horizon that washes out stars, comets and other objects is caused partly by the lights of San Francisco. I won't be in an area of better visibility for another two weeks -- plenty of time for the comet to skedaddle clear out of sight.
25th Jan, 2007 09:28 (UTC)
No, I'm facing south west. The comet itself is lower than the moon, but the tail sweeps up higher. The tail is about as long as the palm of my hand.

This is a much smaller city than San Francisco, and they try to keep the photon pollution down for the astronomers with faint street lighting. But the astronomers still recommend driving 15 minutes out of town.
27th Jan, 2007 06:12 (UTC)
No, I'm facing south west.

Oh, that's right -- the moon would be much higher in the sky for you and would set farther south. I've never been on the other side of the Equator and still have trouble adjusting for all the differences. It seems nothing short of weird to me, for instance, that the sun and moon would move across the sky from right to left.

Anyway, the last few nights here have been overcast so I haven't even seen the moon, never mind the comet.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )