Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Comet Wirtanen

Comet Wirtanen is visible (with binoculars) in the evening sky. It will be passing through some well known winter constellations this month and may brighten quite a bit. Moonlight will be an issue at that time however.

The skies are dark right now, and it instantly popped into view when I swung my binoculars to the Eridanus/Cetis border. It looked like a big pale fuzz in my 10x50 binoculars. Because it passing close by and appears large, the light is spread out a bit and it doesn't necessarily look as bright at the numbers might lead one to believe. 

There is a great finder chart here: https://s22380.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/Comet_46P_Dec18-Jan19_BW.pdf 

I was out by Lagoon last night and could see pretty much all the stars on this chart. The green blob in my picture is comet Wirtanen. It has a small tail, but you can't see it in this picture, and I couldn't see it in my binoculars either.

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