Archive for January 2007

Comet McNaught is visible in broad daylight!

January 13, 2007

I haven’t seen this remarkable comet, brightest in 30 years, but I have another chance. It will be visible during the day, for a while. It’s hard to say how long, due to the unpredictable nature of cometary brightness. All I need now is a clear day!

Anyway, from here in the United States, tomorrow (Sunday, January 14, 2007) the comet will appear to the left of the Sun, or about 5° to the West of the Sun on the celestial sphere. So, if you can, wait until the Sun is clearly visible, and position yourself so that a building blocks your view of the Sun. Five degrees is about the width of your fist held at arm’s length (regardless of age, sex, or gender, unless you’re a woman with “man hands” as Jerry Seinfeld would say–not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

OK, back on track here. Again, speaking from the point of view of the northern hemisphere, block out the sun from your point of view. The sun will be moving left-to-right from your perspective, so leave the “left” of the sun visible. You could use a thick tree if you’re just going to use your eyes, but I highly recommend using a house or building if you’re going to use binoculars or a telescope. Once properly set up, the sun should not re-appear to your optics, and possible damage them, or make you blind. I’m serious! Sorry to be so heavy, but I want you all to be able to enjoy the lovely sky (and not sue me…).

If I get a look at the comet, I’ll write it up here. Who knows, maybe it will be bright enough to take a photo. If so, that’s coming, too.