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A Comet And A Nebula


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Hi my fellow stargazers! Another clear night here in Perth, only issue is twilight takes forever here in summer. Normally not an issue as I just wait until 9pm to begin observing. However on the first night of 2022 I had already made plans in advance to seek out the comet of 2021, comet Leonard!

I set up my dob at 8:45pm, just as darkness was starting to fall. I started my starhop to comet Leonard from the star Gruid (Beta Gruis) in constellation Grus . I followed a nice steam of stars into neighbouring constellation Piscis Austrinus where comet Leonard is currently residing.I came across the double star HD 205530 which I knew was close to the comets location. A nice warm up before the main course! With heart beating in anticipation ( I always get excited when starhopping and seeing the star patters line up , knowing I'm inching closer and closer to my target) I then moved my scope to the upper left of HD 205530 and BAM comet Leonard was in view. Wow I wasn't prepared for how bright and spectacular it looked. This was my first time seeing a comet through a telescope, and what a sight. My kids where waiting in line behind me to see the comet as well, and when they heard my gasps they virtually shoved me out the way too see for themselves 😂. The kids and I were amazed. My wife joined in the fun too. There was a mini battle at the eyepiece as we jostled for position 😀. It really was amazing, we were out there over an hour taking turns gazing at this wondrous spectacle. It's always great to get my family observing with me, especially for over an hour!

They all eventually returned indoors, leaving me to carry out the rest of my planned observations. I viewed M 42 next, had a incredible view at 80x then again at 185x. At high power the details were amazing, mottling of bright and dark nebulae everywhere. The trapezium clearly showed the E and F stars. I moved up to observe M 78 next, fantastic nebula, two stars imbedded within look like two headlights in a fog. My final planned target for the night was the nebula NGC 2071 in the vicinity of M78 which I had never observed before. I located the star associated with its nebulosity then used averted vision to identify it. My skies are bortle 7/6 so I always have to use some type of averted vision to see the fainter diffuse objects.

With that I called it a night. A great session, with Comet Leonard being the highlight. May 2022 bring you all clear skies and fantastic astronomical sights!

 

Joe

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Happy New Year Joe, it seems 2022 is being great for you already. Fantastic you managed to see the comet. Orion and it's surrounding are always excellent sights

Nice that your family shared your excitement.

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Thanks Kon and a Happy New Year to you too. Yes my observing for 2022 has started with a bang! Comet Leonard showed a beautiful bright, light green coma and a long white tail even in my skies. It was nice to share the excitement with my family. Orion is wonderful, so many nice things to see there. I hope you guys in the UK can get a break from the clouds soon. Cheers mate

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Cool. Are you able  to see the comet naked-eye at all? If you have binoculars, they will be good for observing it in context. On a rare morning before it was too low from the UK, I managed to get a view of it in 10x50s and could just about see 1 degree of tail (in lightening skies). You should be able to see it much clearer!

 

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14 hours ago, Pixies said:

Cool. Are you able  to see the comet naked-eye at all? If you have binoculars, they will be good for observing it in context. On a rare morning before it was too low from the UK, I managed to get a view of it in 10x50s and could just about see 1 degree of tail (in lightening skies). You should be able to see it much clearer!

 

Thanks Pixies. I tried naked eye but I could not see it. It was apparent in my finderscope. It is a bit low down when it gets dark, it is slowly getting higher up here but fading at the same time( it's currently mag 6.2). From my back yard I can see 4th mag naked eye. Happy New Year!

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12 hours ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

Joe a really enjoyable read. I would like to view Leonard now it resides in the Southern hemisphere. I did observe the Comet on a few occasions but it was not very bright.

Thanks Mark and Happy New Year! I can't see comet Leonard naked eye from my backyard but it looks really bright in my telescope. I am also observing comet 19p/Borrelly and Leonard is much brighter than it. Clear skies. 

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