Sweeping for comets - help and advice

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Chris Hall
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Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:45 pm
Location: North Staffordshire

Sweeping for comets - help and advice

Post by Chris Hall »

I intend to start sweeping for comets, I have a 10" Dobsonian fitted with Telrad finder and my best star atlas is Sky Atlas 2000.

I am an experienced meteor observer(40 years+), but I am new to comet hunting. Does anyone have any experience of this or can you give me any advice on how to start, please?
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Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:12 pm
Location: Sheffield (53° 21' N 1° 12' W)

Post by Davej »

Hi Chris,
Don't know much about the subject myself apart from the fact that most comet hunters search around the vicinity of the Sun just after sunset and before sunrise. This might be useful.
All the best.
Meade LX 200 (7"). Odyssey 8" Dob.
11X80 10x50 15x70 bins
Celestron Neximage ccd cam
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Location: Huddersfax , Yorkshire

Post by LeoLion »

Hi Chris , Visit Don Macholtz' webpage http://thecomethunter.com/gallery.html and download his 131 page document on how amateur discoveries were made ( I believe he has ten so far !) . We only have one surviving visual comet discoverer in the UK now , Roy Panther . There used to be a pamphlet from the BAA by Mike Hendrie (if my memory serves me right ) with notes on the 'profitable' areas to search (which would be those not covered by the pro surveys due to instrumental difficulties due to sun, moon, galactic plane etc) . I would dig around for anthing by John Bortle via the net and Google .
I wish you well with your search (and many telescopic meteors too on the basis of the Chris that I think you are ) :D
You may get lucky , like Mike Candy http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1995JBAA..105...56. as he found one whilst testing a new comet seeker scope,
Best Wishes ,
Len E
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Location: 55° 57'N: 03° 08'W

Post by stella »

That's "Machholz" with two 'h's.
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Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 7:08 pm
Location: Huddersfax , Yorkshire

Post by LeoLion »

Whoops, I've been Stella 'd :lol: . I can't blame the lager (it was a wee cider last night ) . Thanks for the correction . :oops:
Len E
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Location: Kessingland, Lowestoft, Suffolk

Post by Astrocomet »

I have read up somewhere that a pair of wide angled mounted Binoculars that are low powered Magnification would be quite efficient for Comet hunting-something like this perhaps?:

http://homepage3.nifty.com/cometsm/tele ... hoto10.jpg

Maybe a little too powerful but I hope you get the idea...

These are my Binoculars that I use mounted on a sturdy tripod with a ball joint:

http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-hel ... s/p1009407

And the trick is to scan the sky up and down covering a different part of the sky everytime side by side so eventually covering the whole sky in up and down segments-the thing with this craft is it can put you off a bit when a satellite goes racing through the viewer-especially if your covering the Western Evening sky after Sunset and astronomical twilight or the early morning Eastern sky before Sunrise and before Astronomical twilight ends-thats when the satellites tend to show up more in Binoculars and occasionally telescopes and can put you off slightly in concentration.

I don't actually have a pair of low powered wide angle binoculars myself but a thing to look out for is to have a good idea where the Messier objects are located so you don't accidently mistake them for a Comet-this once hapenned to me with M27 the Dumbell Planetary Nebula in Vulpecula-until I looked at some star maps and realized what it was.

Thats the kind of idea to hunt for Comets-if you have the time and peserverance to do so-good luck....
Colin James Watling
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Location: Dudley

Post by jb1970 »

This website is good http://www.nightskyhunter.com/

It's the same guy as Dave's link above.

All the best
250px dob
127mm mak
8x42 Celestron
10x50 Helios
15x70 Celestron
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