Comet Hunting

Having failed dismally to locate comet C/2015 V2 Johnson with binoculars while on holiday, I thought I would have another go with the SCT.

Before that though, Saturn appeared between the trees so I had a look at that. Seeing was poor and it was low down, so unsurprisingly it was wobbling like a jelly in an earthquake. After having tried several combinations of barlows, the best result was without a barlow. It really isn’t very good, but you can just make out the Cassini division in the rings, and a belt on the planet.

Then I saw 2 very bright meteors – almost fireballs. Anyone catch them on the all-sky cameras?

Anyway, back to the comet. The sky as not very clear, or dark, and the moon was up. The comet had a reported magnitude of 8.3 and it was not near to any prominent star. It was therefore difficult to “star-hop” to it. So I resorted to using its published RA and declination in conjunction with the Autostar controller. Bingo! there it was!

You can’t see any tail probably due to the sky conditions, but you can see asymmetry in the coma, more apparent if you blow it up a bit:

This, I think is the tail – at about 10 o’clock. Ultimately, quite a satisfying image.

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