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Thread: My "Late" latest comet adventure!

  1. #1
    morrbru's Avatar
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    Default My "Late" latest comet adventure!



    Hello, everyone! It's been a while since I observed through any of my telescopes since September 16th, 2018 when I observed Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner at 2:00am from my backyard. I found it with my 20x80mm binos and then followed up with my Galileo 120mm f/8 reflector, which for the past couple of years has been the easiest Grab & Go scope in my arsenal.

    Yes, I hate to admit that until recently, I hadn't looked through a telescope for almost 5 months! I found every excuse to stay indoors, feeling guilty the whole time, but not guilty enough to break that cycle of non-participation of what I really enjoy doing. I missed out on a few comets and some of my favorite DSO's but now I'm back!

    Comet C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto
    Sunday, February 10th, 2019 1830 hrs Arizona time
    I decided to switch it up and set up my Meade LXD55 127mm F/9 refractor and waited for the comet to rise above my neighbor's trees. In the meantime, after it got dark enough I briefly looked at the stars Bellatrix and Betelgeuse in Orion. Betelgeuse looked more orange than red and smaller to me than I remembered, which I thought odd! Just recently on another post, Voyageur gave a very good explanation as to why this could be: Betlegues look different to anyone?. I then swung the scope over to take a not so quick look at M42 and M43, which I was surprised how much of the extended nebulosity I could see since the moon was still up.

    2130 hrs It took me over an hour of searching with my 20x80 Celestron binos on a photo tripod and with my telescope! I was just about to give up when I decided one more try with the the binos off the tripod and sitting in a chair. It took me a few minutes, but I found it! It was a lot fainter than I thought it would be, but I noticed some high thin clouds moving in from the Southeast, so I moved over to the refractor and within a few sweeps I located it in the EP. The comet was a faint grayish smudge, no nucleus or tail to be seen with a 26mm plossl at 45x. I tried higher powers but nothing else gave me a better view. I finally decided to pack it up at 2245 hrs and made a plan to see it the next evening around midnight.

    Monday February 11th, 2019 1800 hrs
    After an 11 hour workday, I headed home to set up some telescopes in my backyard. This time I chose my Meade 80mm f/5 on the photo tripod and the 120mm f/8 reflector on its Alt/Az mount. The reflector's motor drive has not been working as long as I have owned it but it moves well manually. It was still daylight showing, so I set up my observing area with telescopes, table, chair, and EP case for later that evening. After making dinner, cleaning up, and getting ready for the next workday, I headed off to get 2 hours sleep. Waking up at 2230 hrs (11:30 pm), I got dressed for the colder weather, which was 44 degrees F but with a wind chill of 33 degrees F, so cold for me!

    Tuesday February 12th 2018 0000 hrs
    It's now midnight and the sky was clear of clouds. Using the star Regulus as a guide, which at this time was almost straight up in the sky, I aimed my 80mm refractor's red dot finder to where I thought the comet should be. I looked into the 26mm (15x) EP of the scope and BAM! There it is! I walk over to the reflector and aim the Telrad finder to the same area, look into the 25mm (40x) EP and BAM! The comet is right in the FOV. Wow! No searching like the night before. And now the view I was waiting for! The coma was still a diffuse gray, but with an easily seen small star-like nucleus. My best view in both scopes was using a 15mm, EP, giving 27x in the refractor and 67x in the reflector.

    It's 0130 hrs and I have to get up for work at 0530, so I packed it all up and was back in bed at 0200. It was hard to wake up after a long day and night with not enough sleep but it was worth it! After this, I am hoping I never miss an opportunity to see another comet.
    Bruce
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  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to morrbru For This Useful Post:

    bladekeeper (02-23-2019),Don Quixote (02-23-2019),ic_1101 (03-01-2019),SpyderwerX (02-23-2019),terrynak (02-24-2019)

  3. #2
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    Default Re: My "Late" latest comet adventure!

    Hello Bruce,

    thank you for your nice report on Iwamoto,

    JG
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    Default Re: My "Late" latest comet adventure!

    Thanks, JG! I know my report on this comet is late, but I was pretty excited and blessed to see it at all! Hopefully, this year I will be able to obtain some better EP's as mine are mostly cheaper plossl's. Money has always been a factor, so I will need to get the best bang for the buck! I have gotten good advice on this forum before, so I will take that advice for all it's worth!
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    Bruce
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  5. #4
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    Default Re: My "Late" latest comet adventure!

    Hello Bruce,

    I understand your feeling, I am always excited when there is some comet visible in the night skies.

    Let's see what 2019 will bring us.
    Clear skies,

    JG

    PS: Good Plössls should not be underestimated, try also the classified to keep the costs under control.
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    Default Re: My "Late" latest comet adventure!

    It is a fine feeling, Bruce. that you share here of getting back behind a set of lenses to view the heavens. Thank you for this inspiring report. I have been kept under lock and key by my skies here. And yes, JG, I too am looking forward.
    Cheers, and more clear skies!
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    Default Re: My "Late" latest comet adventure!

    Nice work, Bruce! Better late than never, so they say. So far Iwamoto has been washed away for me by a nasty & rainy winter.
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    Default Re: My "Late" latest comet adventure!

    Some good comet sniping, Bruce! Congrats!

    I agree with JG. Do not underestimate your Plössls!

    And I am also in fellowship with Mark and Frankie. Under lock and key and awash in clouds. Clear here right now but only because of the steady 24 mph wind with gusts up to 40 mph. Looks to be carrying on all night long.
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    Default Re: My "Late" latest comet adventure!

    Nice catch of the comet Bruce!

    Tried last night, but couldn't see it (with a 4.5") - of course, it's a lot dimmer now and I live under urban skies...
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    Default Re: My "Late" latest comet adventure!

    Don Quixote, SpyderwerX, and bladekeeper: sorry to hear about all the bad weather! I experienced a lot of the same when I lived in Pennsylvania and reminds me how much better I have it here in Arizona weather-wise!
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