Thursday, February 2, 2012

Re-visiting Comet Garradd

Click to enlarge
Comet C/2009 P1 Garradd is back.  Not that it really went anywhere, of course, but I had stopped following this comet when it was no longer visible in the evening/night sky due to its location in the constellation of Hercules.  Recently I had heard that despite the passing of a few months, the comet was still fairly bright and even visible in binoculars.  With Hercules now up in the early morning sky, I had been considering taking a look at it during one of my morning Mars observing sessions.  Yesterday I learned that the comet would be within 1 degree of the globular cluster M 92 this morning, so set my alarm for 4 AM to observe this conjunction.

I was not disappointed!  As can be seen in my sketch at left, the comet is quite bright, at approximately magnitude 7.  It contains a bright nucleus, and while difficult to detect, there appear to be two tails. (These are hard to bring out in the scan of my sketch).   It is unusual to see a bright comet in the same field of view as a globular cluster, and it was well worth the lack of sleep.  I also made a sketch and observation of Mars, but the seeing conditions were poor and the drawing is surely not as exciting as the event depicted at left.

Update:  The picture below was captured from New Mexico the morning following my observation and sketch, when the comet was within .5 degree of M92.

No comments:

Post a Comment