Tuesday 19 November 2013

Comet Lovejoy and Cachaca

As the sun set last night, I watched the rainy skies catch fire in the west, and then watched intrigued as the cold weather front cleared the sky, a long purple-grey to blue divide advancing from the horizon.

I was excited. This meant clear skies later, this meant comet hunting. Never mind the cold.

And by 2am, it was really cold. No dark rum in the house, so I whipped up a rather crude sort of capirinha affair with Christmas present cachaca, and headed outside.

I took a look at the moon first, a couple of days past full, but it was a very wobbly moon as I struggled to keep my shivery hands still. It was obviously going to wash out decent deep sky observing, so I headed over to the non obstructed garden view to the North-East, lifted up my binoculars to my eyes, expecting a difficult search…

….and it was there straightaway!

I suspect without the moonlight it would have been a much more impressive sight than it was. About half a degree, or nearer, to a 5th mag star in the lower reaches of the Great Bear, Comet Lovejoy was presenting as an elongated “splodge” now rather larger and brighter looking than Messier 13 (as I observed it a week or so ago), and again with the sort of two distinct degrees of condensation I reported previously.

To my eyes, there was no sign of the green colour very apparent in photographs and from other observer reports. There was a tantalising hint of tail pointing to the North-West, but no amount of averted vision could persuade even me I was seeing a tail.

And no amount of cachaca would either. So I headed inside for an impromptu fried egg sandwich and a cup of tea, to warm me up!

Copyright Cream Crackered Nature 19/11/13

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