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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:37 am 
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Nice comet scene on today's www.spaceweather.com .

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:28 am 
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Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
Monday 10/12/18: 2124-2210 UT. Clearance of clouds before bedtime, so out with Acuter 15x65 scope. Comet Wirtanen very soon located and obvious as a fuzz-ball. Then used 8x40 Aspheric binocular to plot its exactly position. To the left was fl.10 & V711 (in Taurus) and to the right was Menkar, (fl.92, alpha) & fl.93. the comet was directly between them, and almost in the middle. The two pairs of stars did not quite fit the field of view of the binocular. Above the comet was another wide pair of stars, fl. 96, Kappa and fl. 97. (Obs.#7).

Tuesday. 11/12/18: 0055-0117 UT. Awoke to find the sky very clear. Went outside with handheld 8x40 Aspheric binocular, as little point now in using the scope as an obvious fuzzball in the binocular. Immediately found now nearer to kappa. Just before returning to bed, looked out of the west facing window with all its light pollution./streetlights etc and could still see it in the binocular! (Obs.#8) regards maf.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:49 am 
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Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
Tuesday. 11/12/18, 2135-2153 UT. The evening sky rapidly clouded over but later gaps appeared , although these gaps were often not completely cloud-free. However, I was able to get a number of reasonable glimpses of this cometary fuzz-ball over a short period. Used Nikon 15-45x60 spotter from the garden. Now a couple of degrees above 97 Ceti, the comet was now over the border into Taurus. (Obs. #9). Regards maf.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:29 pm 
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It's been persistently cloudy for a number of nights here, but there might be a clear window of opportunity this evening to see the comet for the first time.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:37 pm 
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Finally got to see 46P this evening at 19h15UT , using Pentax 10x50. Comet's altitude was ~35deg and in a clear patch of sky between light clouds.

Well I say "see" but in reality the comet was a bit of a disappointment, just an indistinct grey patch making an isosceles triangle with xi and omicron Tau. No structure or condensation was noted in the coma. Diameter was difficult to gauge but could have been one quarter lunar diameter?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:54 am 
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Location: Macclesfield Cheshire
I finally saw 46P.

Using my William Optics Megrez ED 80 II and a 24mm TV Panoptic with a Baader UHC-S filter.
The comet was a diffuse glow somewhat resembling Messier 33 only brighter.

The filter was essential to darken the sky background. Without it. The comet was difficult. I tried to see the tail. But didn't see anything.

I didn't see it visually.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:34 am 
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Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
Wednesday, 12/12/18: 2010-2018 + 2125-2130 UT. Lots of clouds moving across with gaps of, mainly, poor transparency. Cold and windy. Managed to just about find ,intermittently, the comet as a fuzzy spot producing an isosceles triangle with Xi and Omicron Tauri. Used Acuter 15x65 spotter and 8x40 aspheric binoculars. A poor and rather disappointing observation, due to pretty horrible conditions! (0bs. #10). Regards maf.


Last edited by mike a feist on Sat Dec 15, 2018 7:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:49 am 
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Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
Reply to Paul and Brian: That is about all that I have ever seen of this comet, a vague fuzz-ball with indistinct edge, hardly a central concentration and no tail. And about all I expected to see and in fact all most binocular comets do seem to me unless rather super ones! Regards maf
PS. Due to the configuration of Sun, Earth & Comet , the comet being at perihelion when at opposition outside the Earth's orbit, I would perhaps not expect to see a tail as it would be pointing directly away from us.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:40 am 
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Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
Thursday, 13/12/18: 2138 + 2200-2245 UT. Early evening was blighted by lots of bits of cloud, and the floodlighting from the nearby football pitch, although the comet could just a bout be picked out as a faint fuzz-ball now making a flattering isosceles triangle with stars 4 & 5 Tauri. The floodlights were switched off at 2200 UT and by then the clouds had decreased and comet well-shown as an obvious fuzz-ball, perhaps brighter in the centre. Initially used the Acuter 15x45 spotter but soon reverted to using the 8x40 aspheric binocular and then 8x36 binocular, as well. Went in to bed at 2245 UT. (Obs. #11).

Friday, 14/12/18: 0125-0129 + up to 0155 UT. Awoke and noticed that "The Pleiades" could be seen out off and through the upstairs and downstairs, west-facing windows. Grabbed the 8x40 aspheric binocular and, despite the annoying light pollution, was able, yet again, get a reasonable view of Comet Wirtanen. (Obs.#12).
Regards maf.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:58 pm 
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In the remote past, this little comet might have been much bigger and a spectacular sight in the sky. We'll never know.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:16 pm 
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Diameter of comet: With a 14" reflector, it was indeed about one lunar diameter.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:34 am 
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Location: New Farnley, Leeds lat 53.8N long 1.6W
Comet observed from Nidd Hall, N Yorkshire, limiting mag 4.5, some thin cloud, artificial lighting and moonlight, 80mm refractor f5, x18 and x36. 2000 UT. The comet was seen without difficulty, but it is a bit perplexing visually in view of the hyped up appearance in some publications. Of quite low surface brightness, it fades into the sky illumination at about half a degree in diameter, if that, even at x36. It is slightly condensed toward the centre and overall looks very indistinct, with an integrated brightness of no more than mag 5.0, no matter what the hype says. Frankly, even from a moderately dark sky a beginner may well have a frustrating time with this drab, grey little visitor to our Christmas skies. Bob


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:51 pm 
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Location: Galloway, SW Scotland
The sky in my garden is pretty dark, being on the edge of the Galloway Forest. I estimate it as mag. 6.5ish (to my eyes!), something I judge from the Ursa Minor stars and the high level of detail in the Milky Way and number of unaided eye DSOs. As `moderate' comets come, I found this one quite interesting using my big 14" mirror. It appeared similar to the first photo at the top of this page (I could clearly see the wide tail inside the coma), and was indeed about half a degree: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/14/worl ... index.html

I'd imagine it would be pretty decent in an 8" upwards from such a sky. Not like the occasional decent comets we get every few years, but better than many of the other ones, which have been small and faint.

I'd call this one middling! Agreed, overhyped.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:51 am 
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Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
Saturday, 15/12/18: 2145 - 2215 UT: After a wet and cold, cloudy day, I went to bed early, then awoke after about an hour to find that the sky was almost clear, so took the 8x40 aspheric binocular into the garden. The Pleiades were high in the south and the First Quarter Moon in the south west was hidden from view by the house. When I turned the binocular towards the Pleiades, the comet was obvious, with no searching required! Appeared as a fuzz-ball, perhaps brighter in the centre and with the edge fading out to nothing. Within the fov of the binocular was Comet Wirtanen, M45, the stars 37 and 39 Tauri and a long isosceles triangle of stars including 13 and 14 Tauri. Finally clouds began again to cover the sky, so went in. Best view of the comet to date! (Obs. #13).

Sunday, 16/12/18: 0130 - 0140 UT : Awoke to find the sky now almost clear, with The Pleiades visible in the top of the west-facing downstairs window. Used the Nikon 25-45x60 spotting scope through the window and the fuzz-ball of Comet Wirtanen was easily visible despite the various sources of light pollution. The Moon had however set. (Obs. #14).
Regards maf.


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