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Thread: Report - Comets 15P/Finlay and Lovejoy - Mars and Moon halo's

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    Default Report - Comets 15P/Finlay and Lovejoy - Mars and Moon halo's



    2015-01-02
    Very early evening – late evening – just past midnight
    Docter Nobilem 8 x 56
    Front door step

    5 th Lovejoy
    1st 15P/Finlay

    Yesterday early evening I found a nice clear sky outside and for the first time in a while I have seen Mars again. Then I realised that comet 15P / Finlay is supposed to be “close” to Mars. So I quickly put the 10” outside and started Stellarium to check for the exact position.

    According to Stellarium 15P / Finlay sould be close enough to 51 Cap. to share the fov of the 11 mm ES 82°. On Seiichi Yoshida’s page I learned that late December it was estimated at magnitude 10.4.

    Starting from Mars I could easily find 51 Cap. n the 9x 50 finder. In the 11 mm EP at 109x from 51 Cap. there was a nice string of stars leading towards Finlay. The star-trail ends in a distinct pair of two close mag 10 stars. A little bit further down (fov) I focussed on a wider pair of mag 11 stars. These already appeared very faint. But as I kept focusing on these two stars I caught hints of a small fuzzy slightly below with averted vision. No color, no core. I could not see it when trying to focus on it.

    15P / Finlay rounded the Sun on December 27th but may still brighten a bit as it still getting closer to earth. And it is rising a little higher in the sky each night.
    So next time you’re out hunting for Lovejoy: have a go at Finlay as well. Although for Finlay you may want to wait a little bit so that the moon is less disturbing.


    Other objects seen in the early evening

    Mars:
    A nice brown-red disc but impossible to focus properly due to low position and scope not properly cooled down yet.

    Moon:
    Checked after spending some time on Finlay.
    Beautiful details along the terminator: ridges, peaks, crater walls and several peaks “floating in mid-air”. I viewed up to 218x with nice sharp details but there was obvious air-movement.

    I also took a quick peek at the Mesarthim double because it is just such a nice “identical twin”.

    After dinner I had another look outside and there were many clouds so I brought the scope back inside.


    Around 21:30h there was a large enough gap in the clouds to spot Lovejoy with the 8 x 56.
    Still through some thin clouds it was easy to see as a round hazy spot.
    The moon was surrounded by a small but beautiful halo.
    It seemed to consist of several shells with hints of color. Somewhat rainbow like.


    Shortly after midnight took another look with the 8 x 56. This time I could just spot a faint Lovejoy through the haze.

    By this time the halo around the moon had changed into a huge “smoke ring”.
    It looked a bit like a large hole in the clouds as the inside (near the edge) somehow seemed darker than the area outside. The edge of the “smoke ring” was running through M42 so with a little help from Stellarium I estimate the size at some 30° in diameter.
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    Default Re: Report - Comets 15P/Finlay and Lovejoy - Mars and Moon halo's

    Very nice report, Skyscanner! Thanks for sharing! Still under the cloud carpet here, so it's very nice to read about your observations.
    Bryan

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    Default Re: Report - Comets 15P/Finlay and Lovejoy - Mars and Moon halo's

    Nice comet catch!
    I've been wanting to catch Venus, Mercury & Mars in that part of the sky.
    Mike
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