C/2006 P1 (McNaught) - JAN 08, 2007

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Observation Notes

A couple unsuccessful attempts to view this comet from home at sunrise and sunset the last couple days, lead me to drive up to Switzer Mesa after work today for a better horizon. Finding the comet was not easy in the sherbet orange twilight. I scanned the horizon for about ten minutes with my 10 x 50 binoculars before finally spotting it. Once spotted, it seemed very obvious. A frightfully cold wind, and the fact I didn't bring my tripod mount for the binoculars meant I wasn't getting the steadiest views propping them against the car. It was still a beautiful sight.

The coma was soft-edged with a broad profile of luminosity. The tail fanned gracefully away from the blunt, parabolic nose, fading away what I estimated to be about a half degree from the coma. The tail seemed brightest along its eastern edge with a brighter core to the tail that favored the eastern half of the fan. I wasn't equipped for a proper sketch, and time was very short, so I made a contour diagram and reproduced it digitally in Adobe Photoshop at home using the diagram as a reference.

While I was observing it, my cell phone rang, and Bill Ferris was on the other end asking what I was up to. "I'm out at Switzer Mesa, freezing my butt off, checking out this comet," I told him. He mentioned he was seeing the coma naked eye, and asked if I had tried it. I gave it a shot, but couldn't pick it out. After hanging up, I got my stargazing glasses and gave it another try. With the glasses on, it showed up very subtly near the ragged line of trees along the horizon. I also grabbed a few shots with my camera and managed to pick out the comet in four of the images. The best one--which still isn't great--is shown below. Hover your mouse over the image to show a contrast-enhanced version.

Step 1

Move mouse over image to view contrast-enhanced version.

SubjectC/2006 P1 (McNaught)
ClassificationComet
Position*Aquila:
01:00 UT - [RA: 19:24:17.9 / Dec: -09:06:53]
SizeTail: ~.5°
Brightness~ -1 vMag
Date/TimeJanuary 8, 2007 - 6:00 PM MST
(January 9, 2007 - 01:00 UT)
Observing Loc.Switzer Mesa - Flagstaff, AZ
Instrument10 x 50 Binoculars
Eyepieces/Mag.-
ConditionsClear, breezy
Seeing-
Transparency~ Mag 1.0 + NELM
*SourcesStarry Nights Pro Plus v. 5.8, Aerith.net

4 Comments

Hi Great website just found it :)

Hope you don’t mind me adding it to my Astronomy Blog Roll List. Keep up the good work and hope you get to see C/2006 P1 (McNaught) again and have yet to see it

MS

Hi Mark, with schedule issues, and incoming weather, I plan to try it again Friday or Saturday evening. It will be much closer, and westward of the Sun by then, but possibly even brighter, so I hope there's a fair chance of spotting it again.

I hope you get some enjoyable observing in 2007!

Thanks for the quick reply.

I saw the comet myself tonight never seen anything like it before hopefully clear skys again tommrow for a better planned observation.

Mark

dear
people,
please send me pics/ information that you consider interesting
I do not have any kind of professional nowledge but , but its a fascinating subject

bless you
Ed

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This page contains a single entry by Jeremy Perez published on January 8, 2007 10:56 PM.

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