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 Post subject: Comet Wirtanen
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:41 am 
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Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 6:11 pm
Posts: 3183
Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
29/11/18. Evening. Lots of clouds racing by but lots of gaps too, so used the 8x40 aspheric binoculars on a tripod + 8x36 Monarch binoculars handheld from the back garden to seek out, at least the serious field stars near where this comet lies. Started with a good anchor, Menkar ( alpha Ceti) which is easily recognised by its very wide companion. Then, following the zigzag of gamma, delta, and the distorted rectangle containing 69, 70 and 75 Ceti which led me to Mira, now fairly bright. Extending the imaginary line down to zeta Ceti and it's wide companion chi, then swung the binocular to the left (east) and encountered a group of four stars that nicely fitted the fov. Using S&T's Pocket Star Atlas (Jumbo edition) identified these as rho, epsilon, pi and sigma Ceti. (I have never located these before!). Dropping down, I came across tau 1 Eridani and below that tau 2 Eridani. Now I was very close to the rooftops in the south and near to where Comet Wirtanen was located. Passing clouds were a nuisance and when I swapped the binocular for the spotting scope had little time to try to pick out the target and was finally forced to give up. However much was learnt in identifying the area, for next time! Regards maf
(ps. Originally I wrote that tau 1 and tau 2 were in Cetus. They are just over the border, in Eridanus, although the comet was in Cetus.)


Last edited by mike a feist on Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Comet Wirtanen
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Posts: 5193
Location: Lancashire
Almost but not quite Mike. How often, in this cloud-laden land, do observations turn out to be anticlimactic?

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 Post subject: Re: Comet Wirtanen
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 6:11 pm
Posts: 3183
Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
I hardly expected to find the comet yesterday as the weather was so unreliable (it would have been a nice birthday present! ) and the comet was so low down. Viewing higher in the sky with binoculars produced some find details in the general sky. The comet is heading up and brightening still, so I hope, given a bit of clear sky and an opportunity to get a spotting scope in it, I will succeed! This often seems to happen...fail at the first attempt but gather enough information as to the field etc that a second attempt more easily cracks it!
As to disappointments caused by the weather...Lunar Eclipses must be the worst! Regards maf.


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 Post subject: Re: Comet Wirtanen
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:50 am 
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Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 6:11 pm
Posts: 3183
Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
30/November/2018, Evening: less cloud than yesterday. Used Acuter and Nikon Spotters and binoculars. Was able to see the various fields stars, including the triangle, the star to the right and the star to the right of that and even the very faint star paired with the latter but could not detect the comet! (These stars were of magnitudes 7 to 9.)
I think think that Jonathan Shanklin's report on the BAA Comets page, where he reported seeing it "with difficulty" from Cambridge using 25x100B due to light pollution, need to be to be heeded, as he also mentions that it will be large and diffuse and best visible in small binoculars from a dark sight.
I guess that because it's magnitude is "bright", this is due to its close approach and therefore is going to be one of those very large but faint-coma comets that I have struggled to see recently. Regards maf.


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 Post subject: Re: Comet Wirtanen
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:56 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
Posts: 6484
Location: Manchester
Mike
Hard luck - but sounds like you're getting there. If Wirtanen gets better (a LOT BETTER) I might even wave my ancient bins or briefly point a camera at it - possibly my best chance these days (sorry nights!) if I can remember where the dammed push button is. Of course I use a tripod - though mainly for me to lean on, not for taking photos (or should I say "ASTRO photos".
Best of luck from Cliff
PS Does global warming make it warmer outside at night these days (sorry again I should say nights again).


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 Post subject: Re: Comet Wirtanen
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 6:11 pm
Posts: 3183
Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
Hello Cliff, Global Warming does seem to make the nights warmer but also seems to make them cloudier! The hype concerning this comet does seem once again to have become carried away in amongst some of the other exaggerated news reports, but I certainly hope that when higher in the sky it might still be readingly visible. I guess I will have to wait and see, and if the damned clouds do not hide it! Unfortunately it is not going to be another Comet Hyakatake, which appeared one night once the persistent clouds cleared and the huge coma could be seen to then unaided eye even through bits of thin cloud. Regards mike


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