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Marvin Jenkins

C/2018 W2 Africano, last night

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I have been waiting sometime for this and finally the frustration is over. The comet in the title eluded me until last night.

I printed a pdf of this from sky hound.com well over a week ago. Between work pressure, a glaring moon, I took the chance with the weather of waiting till as close to a new moon as possible. True to form and my fears the clouds rolled in and the rain came. Yesterday there was a glimmer of hope and it is looking promising.

Alarm set for 23:30 I snooze on the sofa. Poked my head out the door and instead of clouds thousands of stars beckon me into the dark. Forecast says it will cloud out again by 3am. Set up the scope laptop and open my box of plossl’s, no point in polar alignment or star alignment. Just want to see this single object for the first time, so pushing the scope around by hand is all that’s needed.

I look East, Cassiopeia, pointing at Andromeda galaxy, clear naked eye object tonight. I continue South East to the great square of Pegasus. There is Algenib my target star, somewhere just inside the square is my comet. I notice on my chart and compare to Stellarium that NGC 7814 the Little Sombrero galaxy is very close to where I need to be looking.

I unsuccessfully complete a couple of star hops but so hard to find. Not surprised as I have problems finding galaxies fainter than mag 10. I found two pairs of stars as a reference point as Stellarium indicates the 7814 is between the pairs, there it is!, so faint I need averted vision. Maybe I am wrong, what if it is Africano? Hang on one minute, almost out of the fov another fuzzy a little larger and thankfully brighter. 

I found this comet thankfully, only my second comet after 46P Wirtinen in December 2018. I tried to describe it in my notes, best I could manage.... fuzzy blob, brighter core, sadly nothing more. Why can I see less now? I turn on my head torch to find I am enveloped in a fine mist, everything is getting wet.

Time to pack up and turn in, off to bed with a smile.

Marvin

 

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Well done Marvin, luckily it has brightened a couple of magnitudes since the beginning of the month making it easier to spot, although I can't make any star hopping claims as I used GoTo to find it last night :D

Dave

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Thanks Dave. When I first printed the chart I saw magnitude 12 and thought no way. My first choice was C/2017 T2 Panstarrs, but Taurus being so low in the sky meant four in the morning and work just won’t let that happen. I was so surprised that Africano brightened that much, it was very much my second choice without hope.

Still going for Panstarrs though as it is supposed to be clear over the weekend. Sadly no Africano second night without mist. Total cloud cover. Will look again this weekend and post if I have success with some form of description.

I should mention that The Little Sombrero galaxy was a first for me too as well, although I could hardly see it. Using a 130 newt so I can only guess what a big aperture can see.

Marv

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17 hours ago, Marvin Jenkins said:

Still going for Panstarrs though as it is supposed to be clear over the weekend. Sadly no Africano second night without mist. Total cloud cover. Will look again this weekend and post if I have success with some form of description.

Managed to image Africano, Assassn and Panstarrs last night, had to wait until 2.00am for Panstarrs, spent a while imaging NGC777 by mistake at first 😂

Dave

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I was up till now unaware of Assassn. Any further info would be most appreciated. I would be disappointed to miss something right in front of me, especially as it looks like it is going to crystal clear tonight.

Marvin

 

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Just picked up c2018 w2 Africano with my ED120 refractor. Just now it's in a triangle of mag 7 - 9 stars just above the circlet of Pisces bit wont be there long - it's moving rapidly. Certainly brighter than my last sighting because I found if fairly easily with the 4.7 inch aperture at 43x. The comet stood out from the background better with a bit more magnification though - around 80-90x seems useful.

It's currently around 75 million KM away from Earth apparently.

Edit:

I've been comparing the brightness of the comet with the galaxy M110 in Andromeda and I reckon it's a touch fainter than that.  I reckon magnitude 9.5 would be about right ?

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9 hours ago, Marvin Jenkins said:

I was up till now unaware of Assassn. Any further info would be most appreciated. I would be disappointed to miss something right in front of me, especially as it looks like it is going to crystal clear tonight.

Marvin

 

I used Stellarium for the co-ords.

Dave

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1 hour ago, John said:

Just picked up c2018 w2 Africano with my ED120 refractor. Just now it's in a triangle of mag 7 - 9 stars just above the circlet of Pisces bit wont be there long - it's moving rapidly. Certainly brighter than my last sighting because I found if fairly easily with the 4.7 inch aperture at 43x. The comet stood out from the background better with a bit more magnification though - around 80-90x seems useful.

It's currently around 75 million KM away from Earth apparently.

Edit:

I've been comparing the brightness of the comet with the galaxy M110 in Andromeda and I reckon it's a touch fainter than that.  I reckon magnitude 9.5 would be about right ?

Thats the view you have described John....in the middle of the triangle of stars.

L_0032_ISO1600_30s__18C.jpg

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1 hour ago, John said:

Just picked up c2018 w2 Africano with my ED120 refractor. Just now it's in a triangle of mag 7 - 9 stars just above the circlet of Pisces bit wont be there long - it's moving rapidly. Certainly brighter than my last sighting because I found if fairly easily with the 4.7 inch aperture at 43x. The comet stood out from the background better with a bit more magnification though - around 80-90x seems useful.

It's currently around 75 million KM away from Earth apparently.

Edit:

I've been comparing the brightness of the comet with the galaxy M110 in Andromeda and I reckon it's a touch fainter than that.  I reckon magnitude 9.5 would be about right ?

Hi John have you spotted Asassn in Triangulum yet ? I managed to image it last night.

Dave

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7 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

Hi John have you spotted Asassn in Triangulum yet ? I managed to image it last night.

Dave

Not yet Dave - Triangulum is not well placed for me until the early hours and the weather has not been good lately. It's on my "to do" list though :)

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12 minutes ago, paul mc c said:

Thats the view you have described John....in the middle of the triangle of stars.

L_0032_ISO1600_30s__18C.jpg

Thats the fella ! - nice shot Paul :thumbright:

I've packed up now but my last view of the comet tonight showed it just outside the triangle, just to one side of the lowest star in that group of 3 in your image. It is moving fast, this one.

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By the way, I hope you don't mind me tagging this evenings observation on to your thread on your Friday night session Marvin ? :)

 

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24 minutes ago, John said:

Not yet Dave - Triangulum is not well placed for me until the early hours and the weather has not been good lately. It's on my "to do" list though :)

Going to have another go at it shortly, sky looks pretty good here and the wind has dropped.

Lots of little galaxies in the area to confuse it with, spent a while imaging one last night until I realised it wasn't moving 😂

Dave

Edited by Davey-T
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No problem at all John. Keeps it all nice and tidy in one place. Long may it continue but with speed of that thing and the clouds I may not get another look.

Marv

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Spotted comet P/2018 W2 Africano this morning at 02.30 CEST under 5.0 mag skies with the 5.1" Heritage. Appeared rather faint, about 9.5 mag guesstimated; round, DC=4; coma diameter about 8 arc min. For moments, the "false nucleus", somewhat asymmetric positioned, could be made out. No tail visible. Rather fast movement, visible within 20 min. Incoming clouds, so no further investigation possible. Some fun, always escaping the clouds, with Castor, M 35 and oc 2158 (the latter slightly brighter than the comet), the Auriga Messiers, finally 7789.  26mmf ES; Seben Zoom.

Stephan

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