Observing Log for 2007-11-01

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Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-11-01 19:21 UT
To: 2007-11-01 20:09 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Antares 905
Temperature: 12.3C ...
Dew Point: 9.6C ...
Humidity: 84% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1028.6hPa ...

Went out with the Antares 905 to get my first view of comet Holmes via a telescope.

Fairly clear night. No Moon. Bank of cloud visible to the west.

Comet 17P/Holmes

From: 2007-11-01 19:21 UT
To: 2007-11-01 20:09 UT

I quickly got comet Holmes in the 905 using the 32mm eyepiece. A very impressive sight. Large coma with an obvious bright patch in the middle, fading a little further out and then appearing brighter again towards the edge.

Despite some reports that I'd seen elsewhere I could see no hint of any sort of tail.

I added the Neodymium filter to see if it might help bring out any more detail in the comet. It did seem to reduce the "glow" of the background sky a little but I wouldn't have said I could see any more detail in the comet.

Next I switched to the 25mm eyepiece. The view didn't look that much different in terms of what I could see of the comet. The coma looked a little more "circular" with averted vision than without and I did get the impression that one side of the comet wasn't quite as bright as the other.

After a switch to the 10mm eyepiece the view was still good and it was now more obvious that the outer ring of the coma wasn't the same brightness, it was now very obvious that one side wasn't as bright as the other. This gave the impression that I was looking at something that had leading and trailing edges.

With the 6mm eyepiece (and with the Neodymium filter now removed) it was still a very impressive sight. The coma filled a large part of the field of view. The overall impression was still that there was a central bright era within a bright ring and the area between the two being less bright. I also started to notice that there was a hint of blue to the comet.

Even at this magnification, and also at the other magnifications mentioned above, there was no hint of a tail.

Looking at the comet with the naked eye I noticed that, compared to other recent views, the comet seemed a little more "fuzzy" than I'd noticed before. Also, once again, I estimated the brightness to be something close to Delta Persei.

Overall I felt that the best view was with the 32mm eyepiece. Via that there was a very definite sense of viewing a ghostly 3d ball of "smoke".

By 20:09 UT the sky was starting to get quite misty, it was obvious that the view was more "milky" as seen via the 'scope. So, given that things seemed to be going downhill and given that I'd have a good look at the comet I decided to call an end to the session.

Page last modified: 2013-04-09 09:19:19 UT
Dave Pearson <davep@davep.org>
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