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Observing Comet 46P


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Longer quick process video - mono  

Spotted 46/P for the first time last evening from 22.00 - 22.45 CET. NELM 5.0, slightly sub-average, but the comet, in meridian, was easily visible with 7x50 binos, east of Omicron and Xi Tauri as a l

Had a good session with 46P last night, despite freezing my extremities! It is definitely naked eye from Wiltshire, though a very faint fuzz blob that needs averted vision to spot and you have to know

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I know this is the Observing thread and not the imaging thread, but I don't feel that this image warrants a thread of its own, so I have posted it here. It is more 'my sketch' of my session last night - it's just that I am better at sketching with a camera! Anyway, a very obvious green visitor in the low-ish southern skies...

46P-20181209-Wide-1014.thumb.jpg.2bef4fed41a5e91bcbb9eaa3ff4b28d0.jpg

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5 hours ago, geoflewis said:

No way was it naked eye

I guess your eyes are as good as mine Geof, I was at a pretty dark site with clear skies last night and couldn't see it with naked eye, folk with better eyesight seem to have seen it.

Dave

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7 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

I guess your eyes are as good as mine Geof, I was at a pretty dark site with clear skies last night and couldn't see it with naked eye, folk with better eyesight seem to have seen it.

Dave

My eyes definitely are not what they once were, but at 1:00 am when I gave up on M79 due to horizon murky cloud, the bright stars of Orion were already significantly dimmed and M45 was hazy, so it was not a good time to test the naked eye visibility of 46P. I got it in the 15x70 binos, but only just....

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I stuck my head outside last night and saw a good clear sky so went upstairs for my 10 x 50's then got wrapped up in a few layers. High hopes of getting my first look at this one. Currently in a nice accessible area of sky for me.

Went outside and couldn't believe that the whole sky was clouded over! :(

Slowly getting concerned that the Moon is going to get in the way before I get another usable night. 

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Got it with the 20 X 60 bins, glad to catch it during a clear sky break  between cloudcovers before the moon is going to be present again.

It was a easy visable grey blob with a ligther core, no naked eye object from my garden.

Skysafari 5 Pro was spot on, a easy starhop SE from Menkar in Cetus.

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8 hours ago, geoflewis said:

My eyes definitely are not what they once were, but at 1:00 am when I gave up on M79 due to horizon murky cloud, the bright stars of Orion were already significantly dimmed and M45 was hazy, so it was not a good time to test the naked eye visibility of 46P. I got it in the 15x70 binos, but only just....

ok, so tonight I got it naked eye, then with the 15x70s and to round things off big and blousey with the C14 where it filled about 50% of the FOV with my ES 68/40 eyepiece ?

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I tried to find it las night but no luck, will try again tonight.
Apparently the 16 of December the comets should pass in front of the Pleiades. The sky is very light polluted where I observe behind Berkeley (CA)

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Edited by VNA
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I have to say this comet is very disappointing up until now. I read all kinds of exciting reports about how bright it is going to get and that it was 5th magnitude already, but when I held up my binoculars what I saw was no brighter than nearby 8-10 magnitude stars. I hope it improves significantly in the coming nights or this could well turn out to be my most disappointing binocular comet viewing yet.

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On 03/12/2018 at 21:52, Plane38 said:

Hi all, I was able to find it in my 8 x 42 binoculars here in Derbyshire this evening. It was not easy with a fair bit of light pollution, but it was visible as a very faint misty patch just south of pi Ceti. I had a look through my 102mm telescope but it was no easier to see than with the binoculars, it being so diffuse. Let's hope things improve over the next few days as it moves north!

Get to a rural area if you can. It will not be disappointing and through dark adjusted eyes you will see a comet that looks like a face-on galaxy with a brighter core. Any light pollution will kill the comet's coma which was proven in my dark rural garden with neighbour's LP.

I grabbed a third glimpse of this comet a couple of nights ago between the clouds and it can be seen with the unaided eye. (If you know what you are looking for)

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True, 46P is not a Hale-Bopp style, Bayeux Tapestry obvious comic book comet painted on the night sky as some reports may have hyped it up to potentially become. However, I think it is far from disappointing! It appears so ‘dim’ as the magnitude is spread across its huuuuuuuge diffuse coma. I think it is incredible that such a small ‘mis-shaped potato’ of only about 1km diameter can eject so much material and cover such a large patch of sky, currently about 46’, well over a full Moon’s worth of sky! It is very ‘findable’ as a large diffuse blob with a tiny bright nucleus and I am looking forward to following (and hopefully imaging) it’s journey northwards between the Hyades and the Pleiades over the next few days. I wouldn’t hold your breath for any significant increase in apparent brightness, but simply enjoy the solar system spectacle on offer as it is...

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Hi,

46P last time I saw 5 or 6 December. I waited in the dark of the bedroom for an adaptation to the dark. After 11 PM street lamps in the village went out and then I went to the balcony door. The comet jumped out of the sky background immediately as an airy, gray, sizable spot. She reminded me of the M33 in small binoculars but larger and more roundshape (Edit: I mean it feels like it was huge on sky using averted vision, not literaly bigger than m33 in binoculars, it was easily like half of the Moon)  :) . Even then, if I remember correctly, it was about 4.1 magnitude? To be sure, I confirmed observations with the old Bresser 10x50 binoculars. In the binoculars were propably the size of the Moon with a brighter center. Beautiful view, I'm glad that I could admire it a few times this year but it was the first time with naked eyes. After 10 minutes, clouds have come and it continues to this day :( 

Regards

Luke

Edited by ASSA
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Finally obvious in the 15x70 without averted vision and sweeping about. Very big and fluffy. Any comet that is binocular visible from town needs to be a bright one. Hope the weather allows for regular viewing as it sweeps across the sky.

PEter

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Had another look at it tonight in 11X70 bin's, doesn't look any brighter than last weekend and still easy to miss from a light polluted location, luckily tonight it's next to two bright stars.

Started a time lapse on it again after my failed attempt at the weekend when the lens fogged over.

Dave

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I couldn’t see it in my 8x42s so I’m looking at it with my 10” dob. at 80x. Sky safaris got its position slightly out I think. It’s just south east of TYC 0650-0128-1

If I didn’t know otherwise  I’d guess it was a fuzzy galaxy :) 

 

Edited by Scooot
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Just notched up my first sight of this one. The skies have really not been great recently, milky and poor NELM even when clear. Tonight seemed about mag 4 ish looking towards Taurus. Skysafari showed its position making a triangle with Xi and Omicron Tauri, and sure enough in the 10x50s I could just about see a small fuzzy blob with averted vision. That was after about 5 minutes dark adaptation so I'm sure it would be better with a bit more time. I'm obviously only getting the core from here, a shame but I doubt I'll get a chance under a decent sky, so at least I've seen it! Perhaps with a bit more aperture it will be better, might get a chance tomorrow.

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Saw it again around midnight from an urban but reasonably dark driveway. Was near its top altitude, and despite humid air it popped in the eyepiece pretty evidently as faint fuzzies go. Must be that it brightened a bit again. The 16x70 and gloved hands, thick jacket and woolly hat made the view quick and comfortable.

It seemed smaller overall but the inner halo looked brighter. Might be true, might be a mix of varying observing conditions and dark adaptation.

Edited by Ben the Ignorant
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Perihelion today, often comets continue to get brighter for a few days after closest approach as the sun's energy penetrates deeper releasing volatile material.  This combined with perigee (closest to Earth) on 16th means it may still be a good sight (weather and moon permitting ?) for a week or so....

Helen

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Tonight seems possible from the forecasts here (Oxford area). I've seen it six or seven times now, mainly with slight haze so the view wasn't too spectacular, but one good night (4th/5th Dec) after a day's rain, it was a large fuzzy with the 15x70s, and a clear large fuzzy with some apparent granularity with a bright nucleus using my 180 Mak at x48 (56mm EP). Rocking the scope backwards and forward between 46P and several nearby blue-white stars, the faint greenish tint of the nucleus could just be made out.  With the naked eye, I think it was just at the limit of visibility - the sense that something was there, but no clear view of it. Sky quality would have been about 21.00 magnitudes, about as good as it gets here.

Chris

 

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Spotted 46/P for the first time last evening from 22.00 - 22.45 CET. NELM 5.0, slightly sub-average, but the comet, in meridian, was easily visible with 7x50 binos, east of Omicron and Xi Tauri as a large, diffuse patch of about 40 - 45 arc min coma diameter, DC (degree of condensation) about 5; brightness (difficult to estimate) about 4.2 mag. With averted vision, the comet was definitely visible by naked eye, but only for short glances. Bright nuclear region; no tail visible. Noticeable motion within half an hour of observing. The 130 P Heritage showed at 25x a brighter, but similar picture; at 83x, the core region was slightly diffuse; no coma structures visible. Three hours later, at lower elevation and with slightly deteriorated NELM (- 0.2), less impressive and with apparent smaller coma diameter.

Btw., my 500th post today. Almost two years ago, when I joined this friendly and helpful forum (my first and only one), I wouldn't have imagined, how much I'd like to participate actively here (after two years of lurking). It was a joy and pleasure for me to share my observations with various instruments out of a rather dark sky location with you all, and to read your comments, questions and suggestions. Thank you all for your  postings, replies and likes. You are a great bunch of people, modest, humorous, honest and more than helpful. As another member (JOC, IIRC) named it aptly a while ago: "I'd leave the key under the doormat for all of you!". I'm looking forward to more years of participating.

With the Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year (and for Clear Skies, of course)

Stephan

Edited by Nyctimene
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