Sunday, May 22, 2016

Chasing comets

252P/Linear and C/2014 S2 Panstarrs

252P/Linear. The image was made digitally using 
Stellarium as the sky background.
Whenever there is a chance to see a recently discovered comet, I want to try. There is a web page I use to check once in a while to see what comets are available for us stargazers: cometchasing

I finally caught 252P/Linear, with the binoculars, after some previous failed tries with the telescope.
It was a really short session on the morning of April 4. I didn’t even have time to sketch it. The comet was traveling in Opiuchus at about 55 degrees over the horizon.

It seemed like a large and dim circular spot in the Binoculars. Here is the detailed report for those who want to check for more information: astronomyforum

I tried various times to see Linear’s twin comet, but either the moon or the bad weather stop me from seeing it. Some days later, I tried successfully another reachable magnitude comet: C/2014 S2 Panstarrs.  The night I caught it, it was surfing Ursa Major in the sky.

In the finderscope I went from Dubhe to HIP56290A (the brightest star in the sketch) and from it voila! It was in the same FOV with low magnification.

This one looked like others I have seen before: a slightly bright nucleus that can be mistaken as a dim star with some fuzziness around it.  Nothing fancy, but the joy of seeing more of our solar system objects.

There are two more comets to add the observed comet’s bucket. Hope you are getting some of them in your lists too.

Clear and dark skies,


Edited by Jennifer Steinberg (editor in chief) 

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