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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

TWO COMET NIGHT

Location:  Front Porch, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  April 24, 2017 2145-2320hrs

Weather:  Mostly clear to clear, 0C, no wind and no Moon.  Very dark skies.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on a Vixen Alt/Az mount with 19mm eyepiece, 20x80 Binoculars on Tripod, and Canon Rebel Xsi with 75-300mm lens mounted on tripod.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To view and image two Comets (C/2015 V2 Johnson and 41P T-K-G) which were in or near Hercules, in the North Eastern sky after dark.

Report:

  • Went out to search for Comets as soon as it got dark (well after 2100hrs), but a hazy, partly see-through cloud hung over the NE sky.  This threatened the chance for capturing the faint Comets.
  • After 2200 hours, the clouds in that area of sky dissipated, allowing for scan of NE sky.
  • Searched for Comet Johnson, with binoculars which was supposed to be between two bright stars above Keystone of Hercules.  Could not locate comet with binoculars.
  • Scanned the Hercules for the Great Cluster (M13) and found it with binoculars.  Very bright fuzzy patch that makes it easy to see why Charles Messier mistakes it for a Comet.  That's exactly what it looks like in binoculars or a small scope.  A bright fuzzy patch...but of course, this fuzzy patch does not move across the sky, it moves with the stars.
  • Scanned the area, with binoculars to the lower right about 7 degrees of Dracos head for Comet 41P but could not see it.
  • With a dark sky and no clouds, decided to image area of sky where Comets were suppose to be.  Used the very bright Jupiter (half way up in the sky in the SE) as a focusing target for camera.  Jupiter had an odd arrangement of its Moons at this time, with all four on one side...fairly close to one another.


Odd arrangement of Jupiter's Moons

  • After imaging, set up small telescope with 19mm eyepiece.  Found Comet Johnson easily, right were sky charts said it was.  Bright fuzzy patch that seemed to be bigger on one side.  Comet has a bright nucleus.  Viewed M13, nearby also to compare brightness.  Comet Johnson was about 1/3 as bright as M13.  Found Comet 41P right was it was suppose to be also.  Much fainter than Comet Johnson, almost unseeable in small scope.
  • This was my first time observing two comets in one night!
  • No shooting stars and a few satellites were seen.

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