Observing Log for 2007-11-15

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Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-11-15 13:35 UT
To: 2007-11-15 13:40 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 7.6C ...
Dew Point: 2.6C ...
Humidity: 70% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1024.9hPa ...

Very clear day. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.


From: 2007-11-15 13:35 UT
To: 2007-11-15 13:40 UT

No spots or other marks visible on the Sun.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-11-15 19:19 UT
To: 2007-11-15 20:02 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M
Temperature: 1.5C ...
Dew Point: -1.6C ...
Humidity: 80% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1025.6hPa ...

Mostly clear and cold evening, some cloud around and getting increasingly misty. Waxing crescent Moon very low in the south. Decided to get the 130M out to have a look at comet Holmes.

Comet 17P/Holmes

From: 2007-11-15 19:19 UT
To: 2007-11-15 20:02 UT

At first glance I struggled to see comet Holmes with the naked eye. Only after some effort, and using averted vision, could I see a faint fuzzy blob somewhere near Mirfak. By the looks of things the comet had faded quite a bit since my last observation a couple of nights ago.

The comet was easy enough to find with the 130M and the 32mm eyepiece. It appeared as a large, blueish, ghostly and distorted circle. While there was still no sign of any tail the impression I'd had from previous observations of it being an incomplete circle, with one part of the edge being much less brighter than the rest, was even more obvious.

I noticed that it appeared to be relatively bright in the middle, fading further out and then getting a little brighter again towards the edge (other than the faded edge I mention above).

The overall impression I got was of a large faint circle where most of one half had been smudged away (I'm guessing this is the side where any tail is/would be).

Switched to the 15mm eyepiece and noticed right away that the comet was pretty much too big to fit into the field of view. Moving the main part of the comet out of view, and looking backwards from the "faded" part of the edge of the comet, I did get the impression that there was "something" there. A very slight hint of blue, a hint of colour, or something, that was a little different from the background sky. Could have been a hint of the tail but couldn't say for sure.

Switched to the 25mm eyepiece and this gave a better view than with the 15mm but didn't show anything different from what I'd seen with the 32mm.

Switched back to the 32mm and added the Neodymium filter to see if it would have an effect. While it didn't reveal anything new it did remove the blueish colour (which is probably to be expected) but it also seemed to make the comet stand out from the background sky a little better.

I could get both the comet and Mirfak in the same field of view with the 32mm, a really nice sight that I'm sure would have made for a great bit of astrophotography.

The overall impression I got was that the "main event" was over. It seems, from the view I had, that not a lot is being given off by the comet now and that the main shell of debris is expanding to the point that it won't be visible to be pretty soon.

By 20:02 UT the sky was starting to get a little more hazy and it looked like it was only going to get more and more foggy so, having seen what I wanted to see, I packed up.

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