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michael.h.f.wilkinson

Comet SWAN bagged with binoculars

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Despite yesterday's cloud, I managed to see comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) though binoculars. At first I just explored the clear skies overhead, using the trusty Helios LightQuest 16x80 bins to pick out several Messier objects, and track the ISS as it passed overhead. I had some nice views of globular clusters M3, M5, and M13, and galaxies M51, M65, M66, M81, M82, and M101. The latter was surprisingly easy, indicating pretty clear conditions overhead. Not so to the north.

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I patiently waited for the cloud bank to the north to budge, and by 0:30 I could make out Algol (beta Persei) and two fainter stars above it, but a dark tendrils of cloud in between kept blocking the view of the location of the comet. Finally, around 1:00 I repeatedly spotted a little fuzzy ball, exactly where the comet should be. That's my 28th comet bagged.

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Well done Michael picking up Comet Swan in binoculars. Last night I decided to follow your example and used my Apollo 15x70 binos. Not easy with the bright horizon in the North so in the end I had to compare the area using Stellarium. It appeared that the comet was in the middle of a line from star 36 to Nu Perseus and looking closely with the binos I could see a dim diffused object which I assumed was the Comet nucleus as nothing else was shown in my star maps.

Hope its easier to observe over the coming week as it heads towards Capella.

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