Observation Log 4/30/06: Comet Schwassman-Wachman (73P)

Comet Schwassman-Wachman (73P) My first look was a bit of a disappointment, since my Oberwerk 11×70 binoculars just didn’t collect enough light. So, tonight I got out my Celestron NexStar 8i telescope and my 2″ Naglers for a better look.

At first I thought it was a nice, clear, dark night. After my eyes adjusted, I realized that there was a lot of light pollution, both in the sky and on the ground. There was no obvious source. Perhaps it was the three-day-old Moon 2° above the horizon, though not visible to me, washing out the sky a bit. Maybe it’s time to get a light-pollution or a comet filter.

ANYway, the next four days will be all clouds, and since the comet Comet Schwassman-Wachman (73P) is diving beneath our local (northern hemisphere) horizon so fast, I figured this was my last chance. At first all I saw was a faint fuzzy, similar to my binocular viewing. Over time, as my eyes got used to the dark, I could make out a clear coma with direct vision, and a nucleus and about 7’30” of tail with averted vision. This evening was a real training session for averted vision, since almost all of the stars I could see and draw in the Field of View were around 13th+ magnitude. The 67-power view with the Panoptic 35mm eyepiece was nice, but I preferred the 199-power view with the Nagler 17mm. I was able to discern more of the faint fuzziness.

By the way, click on the NASA picture here for a link to an amazing Hubble movie of the ongoing comet breakup. Or, just click here.

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One Comment on “Observation Log 4/30/06: Comet Schwassman-Wachman (73P)”


  1. […] movie of Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 73P moving through the sky In one of my recent Observation Logs, I wrote that I could actually see the comet moving over the space of five minutes or so. Now, […]


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