View Full Version : Episode 19: Comets, Our Icy Friends from the Outer Solar System

2007-Jan-15, 10:34 PM
The sudden brightening of Comet McNaught has reminded us what a treat it can be to see a comet with the unaided eye. A diffuse ball with a long tail stretching across the sky. ...

Read the full blog entry (http://www.astronomycast.com/solar-system/episode-19-comets-our-icy-friends-from-the-outer-solar-system/)

2007-Jan-16, 02:55 PM
I saw the comet three nights last week, right after sunset. We had exceptionally clear weather here in central NC for most of the week, but since then, nothing but clouds.

It was easy to spot in my 10x50 binoculars and easily naked eye, once you knew where to look. I used my 4.5" F/9 dob one night to bump up the aperture and power, but it didn't add any detail that I couldn't see in my binoculars.

I took some shots with my Digital Rebel and 55-200 zoom. They came out OK, but not nearly as nice as some of the other stuff on the web. I have no clue how to process it to improve the quality.

The coma was very big and bright and with the tail coming off like a small fan. With it rotating with the earth at sunset, it really looked like a snowball falling out of the sky towards the ground!

Thanks for another great show!!!

2007-Jan-16, 07:01 PM
Who is this McNaught that had this commet named after them

2007-Jan-16, 09:18 PM
Who is this McNaught that had this commet named after them

Robert McNaught is an astronomer at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. This isn't the first comet he's discovered.

2007-Jan-16, 09:19 PM
Who is this McNaught that had this commet named after them

Robert H McNaught (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_H._McNaught)

Robert H. McNaught [...] is a British-Australian astronomer at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the Australian National University.
He is also a co-discoverer of periodic comet 130P/McNaught-Hughes and, using the Uppsala Schmidt telescope discovered comet C/2006 P1 in August 2006, which became the brightest comet in several decades.

2007-Jan-16, 09:22 PM
I tried again today to see McNaught in daylight.

I tried around 1.30 this afternoon with no luck whatsoever. And I didn't just go out and hide the sun with a building and use binoculars.

I went out to our observatory, plugged up the optics, and used the shadows of the tubes to center the scopes on the sun. Then, using a white-light filter in our 4-inch TAK, I got the sun perfectly centered, then synced up in The Sky.

I slewed over to where the comet was, took off the filter, and saw.... nothing. Just to make sure everything was okay, I did another slew -- to Venus. Whammo! Venus was dead-center in the eyepiece. So back to where the comet was, and again... nothing.

I even tried our filters: OIII, UHC, and even a polarizer. Nada... nothing. Strike three.

So I packed up and went home to warm up.:)

Dunno if we will get to see it. I might cry. I've seen dozens of comets over the years - some bright and some very dim - but I don't think I'll get to see this one.

2007-Jan-24, 05:51 AM
OK, somehow I missed this episode last week! I must'a been busy!!

Anyway, loved the "favorite" viewing stories. Mine also involves Hale-Bopp. I wrote about it on my home page - it involves my son:


Last week we had clouds and I never got to see Comet McNaught :(

Keep up the great work (now on to listening to yesterday's show)...


2007-Jan-26, 03:17 AM
FYI Florida has to be the worst place in the world for astronomy

It's either cloudy, raining, or to hot and humid =(

2007-Feb-16, 12:47 AM
The first comet I ever saw with the naked eye, was Shoemaker-Levy 9, but because of where I lived at the time; Concord, CA., East of San Francisco; my girlfreind and I were also treated to a partial eclipse of the moon.
:dance: The Moon overhead as it disappeared, and the 6 or 7 peices of Shoemaker-Levy 9 lower inthe western sky.

2007-Mar-17, 04:08 AM
I remember getting up at 5:00 AM as a teenager in Santa Barbara to see comet Bennett hovering in the eastern sky above the mountains. I was naively amazed to find that it wasn't moving accross the sky but equally amazed that it really looked like the images I had seen in books. Very cool and has, along with spotting one of the Echo satellites skimming along those same mountains after sunset in the early 60's, kept me keen on astronomy ever since.