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My First Comet Hunt/Technical Difficulties

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Hayduke27    52

I went to my dark site last night for a little stargazing with a buddy and the hopes to see my first comet through a telescope (or binoculars!).  I had a few other things on my list, namely M81 and M82 and the Blue Snowball Nebula.  I headed out armed with my telescope, 3 new EPs, a new nebula filter, a new 2" dielectric diagonal, and high hopes.

We arrived and got set up, and for the first time since I've owned it my Celestron GPS unit was not working.  It was powered up, but it just didn't seem to be connecting to the telescope as the scope kept asking me to program in the time and coordinates.  I hadn't brought an alternative GPS, as I have not had this issue in the past, and so I was not able to set up my scope for GoTo or for tracking.  I spend quite a lot of time messing with it, but to no avail.

By the time I got to observing I had already messed around with the equipment for a long while and time was getting short. I took a long look at the Ring Nebula and Andromeda, then went on to look for the comet (C/2017 ASAS/SN). Supposedly it is possible to see through binoculars, but I was having trouble spotting it with either scope or binos. I know I was in the right part of the sky, but I suspect it was just dim and my newbie eyes had trouble finding it.  It is supposed to be magnitude 12 or so right now, and being new as I am to astronomy I don't know exactly how that looks in the sky.  Anyway, by the time I gave up on the comet, it was cold and I was ready to pack up. No new observations for me.

I think the comet is supposed to be most easily observable on 10/18, and I will probably try to get out again and search for it.  I also have all these new gadgets I need to get the feel for.  I really want to make some good use of this new nebula filter soon.  Thanks for reading and clear skies!

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John    17,139

A magnitude 12 object such as a comet or face on galaxy can be very dim indeed and difficult to spot if you are new to the hobby, even if it is in principle within the grasp of your scope. If the comet is a diffuse object (which some are) the actual surface magnitude can be quite a bit less than 12.

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