Sunday morning viewing Comet Leonard


Kent Blackwell
 

Here are my notes on Comet Leonard Sunday morning, which are probably more than you ever wanted to read.

C/2021 A1 (Leonard)

(Comet in Bootes)

Observed: Dec 5, 2021 at 4:11:48 AM

Comment: 16" f/6.2 

16mm Nagler at 160x

 

Lies 24" north of the 5th magnitude star d Bootis.

 

Comet Leonard was low in the eastern sky at 4:10 but looked great as it rose higher in the sky.

 

Interesting that this morning it was next to a pair of 11th and 12th magnitude stars, which would have made a pretty picture. Within a half hour it had movesd away from these stars.

 

It looked better tonight than either last night or the night before. Not only was the sky clearer but I had cleaned my mirrors in the telescope earlier in the day.

 

The Lumicon Comet filter certainly helped to see the rather wide, fan-shaped tail, which was brightest near the core of the comet. However I still prefer the view without a filter.

 

This time I was able to faintly see it in my inexpensive 15x70 Barska binoculars. I was surprised how large the comet is in angular size. I also saw it as a very faint smudge in my 10x40 Nikon binoculars, and even in the 10x40 Celestron finderscope.

 

A different view was afforded using a 24mm Meade Ultrawide eyepiece yielding the lower power of 105x. The above mentioned star d Bootis was framed in the same field of view at this power.

 

By 5:00 it had risen to 34 degrees above the horizon. Using a 16mm Nagler at 160x I detected a very faint outer shell around the comet's core. This showed even better stepping up the power to 254x with the 10mm Pentax, as did the comet's tail.

 

At 5:45 am, I was satisfied I'd been afforded the best view thus far. Next viewing planned is mid-December when Comet Leonard moves into the western sky and visible after sunset. At least I won't have to get out of bed at such ungodly hours!

Location: Virginia Beach SQML 18.49 42 Degrees H 95%

Equipment: 16" f/6.2 Dobsonian, 16mm Nagler

Seeing: 8

Transparency: 8

 

Messier 3

(Globular Cluster in Canes Venatici)

Observed: Dec 5, 2021 at 4:54:06 AM

Comment: Wow, M 3 looked great this morning. The stars were resolved to the very core.

Location: Virginia Beach SQML 18.49 42 Degrees H 95%

Equipment: 16" f/6.2 Dobsonian, 16mm Nagler

Seeing: 8

Transparency: 8


Ian Stewart
 

Kent, thanks for the observing notes. Skies were cloudy here.

Cheers

Ian