Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A Naughty Look at Comet Jacques 26.08.15

I should have been in bed. I really should have been in bed. But after my usual evening faff of sandwich making and medication taking, I took a look outside and found a clear sky smiling velvetly down at me.

I should have gone to bed, I had a cycle ride and an early start at work, but I couldn't help it. I don't like wasting skies clear enough to see the milky way plunging its way down through Cygnus. So out came the 10x50s, and out went I.

I warmed up with the usual appreciation of the Cygnus milky way, written about so many times, before trying to find Messier 2 from memory. A very faulty memory as I've just realised I was looking in totally the wrong place by Pisces' tail. Not very smart. However, I was able to see Messier 15 in Pegasus, before I adjudged my eyes dark adapted enough to try and find the comet.

I had a rough idea of where it would be although I hadn't consulted any maps or suchlike, but was still surprised to find it so quickly. To be honest, in my 10x50s , it isn't an amazing sight, but it's the excitement of seeing it that counts. It reminded me rather of the appearance of Messier 33 Triangulum Spiral, if a little easier to see due to being more condensed, it had the same sort of skewed elliptical appearance.

I'd say position wise it formed a rough equilateral triangle with gamma and beta Cassiopeii, magnitude about 7. But I didn't really have long to study it, for my eyes were growing heavier by the second, reproaching me with the thought of a 6am start.

So I let the comet be, for it must be awful to have all those folk gawping at you with their binoculars and telescopes all of the time. Bedtime it was.

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