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Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Started by flusk, 12/01/2018 07:35AM
Posted 12/01/2018 07:35AM Opening Post
Even under the Bortle Class 6 to 7 skies of Fresno, CA, I was able (barely) to spot Comet 46P at about 10:00 p.m. tonight with handheld 15x70 binoculars.  Fortunately, it rained over the past couple days and the seeing and transparency were both much better than average.

The comet was right where it was supposed to be, which I confirmed with the star field shown in a detailed finder chart from SkyTools 3.  The comet is bright (~m3.4), but so large (~1.5°) that its surface brightness is low and that's a killer under my suburban skies.  The core was slightly brighter than the rest of the comet, which made it easier to spot.

Next Saturday, if conditions permit, I will be observing with my 11" SCT at 6,500 ft in Kings Canyon National Park and Comet 46P is in my observing plan.