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Tweedledee

Catalina at 4am

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Tweedledee

Got up a 4am to check out comet Catalina. Didn't put any lights on to preserve my dark adaptation from sleep and the optics were pretty cold straight from the garage. Such a pity about the deteriorating sky. A haze was setting in illuminated by the moon, and I could only see down to mag 3 with the naked eye. Started with 15x70s and the comet was immediately visible next to Arcturus as a fairly large hazy patch. Tried the 10x50s but it was less visible in them. The ST120 gave a better, but still fairly dismal view of it. With 35x in the 17mm Ethos the 5th mag comet seemed to show a very slight triangular shape about a quarter of a degree across with averted vision. After 45 minutes trying various different eyepieces without improving on the description above, the sky was deteriorating further so I packed away and went back to bed.

 

I think Catalina should be a cracking view on a proper clear night.

Edited by Tweedledee

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catman161

Great report Pete :) I will have a try for this in the next few days with the bins and perhaps the mak 127 (reminds me I'll pm you-sorry Christmas got in the way). Have not yet got the big scope mounted and sorted and up and running.

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Tweedledee

Sorry you didn't bag it Martyn, but as I said, given a good clear sky it should be quite spectacular next time. Trouble is that all my weather apps are showing cloud for the next week at least, but if that changes, it can only change for the better :)

 

Just now I had a look at the FLO Clear Outside app and scrolled back to the early hours. Wish I had decided to get up just an hour earlier as Catalina would still have been high enough to see well. All through the night till 3am FLO was showing visibility at the maximum 10, at 4am it was 7 and by 5am it was down to just 5! Since I got the ST120 out slightly later in the session after more deterioration, that explains better why I saw very little more of the comet than in the bins.

 

It would be great to hear if anyone saw, or even imaged it slightly earlier in better skies.

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Smithysteve

I had been waiting to get a glimpse of Catalina too. I finally got to see it yesterday morning with the 7x50 bins, no tail to be seen, just a fuzzy ball, typically.

it was great to see the moon, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Saturn lined up though. Venus is something else at -4.1 Mag (77% disc) at the moment! Beautiful! ?

Will try Catalina again soon as conditions allow, hopefully, as it rises towards Alkaid and Mizar. ?

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Tweedledee

Steve, during the night I only had eyes for the lovely Catalina herself on my secret rendezvous. Didn't want to ruin my night vision on the rest of the light pollution (moon and planets) but I'm sure they too were beautiful. When I went back to bed, my wife asked where I'd been. I came clean and admitted the whole affair and she just said "Oh very nice" and went back to sleep! :D

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Brantuk

Well done Pete - I meant to get up and go outside for a look but didn't get to sleep till very late so didn't make it unfortunately. Woulda been nice to see it last night. :)

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Bino-viewer

Well spotted Pete. :thumbsup:

 

When i got in at around 01:00hrs i thought i'd grab my 15x50s and try to bag this pesky comet.

 

No joy i'm afraid ; but Arcturus was a bit low down then so i had little chance with all the light pollution to my east.

I half thought about setting up a scope but felt a bit worse for wear.

 

Hopefully i'll get it soon ; current magnitude estimates show it to be between + 6.2 and 6.4

Its heading rapidly northwards so i guess it will become circumpolar for us soon ?

 

There's another good pointer for it on Jan 15 when it passes close (1 deg east) to Alkaid in the saucepans (Ploughs, Dippers) handle.

Edited by Bino-viewer

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Sunny Phil

I just saw a fuzzy patch and had haze here as well. No chance of capturing anything half decent on "film".

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Tweedledee

At 4am this morning the comet should have looked something like the following Stellarium screenshot, but the conditions just weren't showing much at all.

 

It is interesting to note that Catalina was passing right over Picot 1, the Napoleons Hat asterism within about a quarter of a degree. French astronomer Fulbert Picot thought the string of seven 10th magnitude stars looks like emperor's hat. Having looked at this asterism many times in different scopes and even 15x70 bins on a good night, I think it is a very apt name. Have a look for this little asterism which is so easy to find just two thirds of a degree south of Arcturus. It is just a pity that Catalina won't still be in the same view...

 

NapoleonFulbertPicot1.png

 

Napoleon%20%28243%20x%20324%29.jpg

 

 

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