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November 3, 2007

Comet Holmes

Filed under: Comet Holmes,Observing — nick @ 4:02 am

2 November 2007: Comet Holmes

This was my third night that I observed comet 17P/ Holmes (The first two observations were on Oct 28 and Oct 29). Around 10:30 pm I went outside to look at the sky. It was pretty clear; some scattered clouds were about, and the seeing was medium quality as the air seemed a bit hazy. Comet Holmes was still easily visible, not noticeably dimmer than before. I could definitely see it as a “fuzzy” object tonight.

I decided to get out the 4.5 in Dob tonight instead of the big one, since I planned on just a quick look. I quickly set the scope on on a small table in the driveway and found the comet quickly. It was definitely dimmer looking than before, but then this scope has only about a fifth if the light gathering ability of the 10 in. Nevertheless, it seemed a litter bigger than before; I estimate it was about a sixth of the angular field of view using my 25 mm eyepiece (calculated total field of view should be about 1.39°). The nucleus was not apparent at all; I thought I might have seen it using averted vision (or perhaps it was just “averted imagination”).

Before I went back inside I took look at Albireo (shining like a pair of blue and gold gems—always a fun object) and the Pleiades (nice but too big to be a good telescope object, at least with my equipment).

As to comparing the the two telescopes over the last few days, there are a couple of points. First, aperture wins, as the saying goes. Bigger glass makes for better views. However, the small Dob is very light and easy to set up and get to viewing; it’s a really fun scope for that reason. It’s pity I don’t use it more often, and if I had better skies, I might.

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