Sunday, January 14, 2007

Comet McNaught Now Visible in Broad Daylight

All you need to do, really, is step outside and look just to the left of the sun any time this weekend. It helps to use your hand, or a tree, or wall to block the direct sunlight, at which point, the comet should be clearly visible all day long (though best viewed around noon).

http://www.spaceweather.com/comets/mcnaught/10jan07/Menardi1.jpg
Photo credit to Giuseppe Menardi, Mont Lagazuoi (2.800 mt) Jan. 10, 2007. The comet is very bright (visual magnitude -3) with a 4-degree long tail. Photo details: Canon EOS D60, 200 mm lens, f/3.5, 200 ISO, 1/80 sec.

Here's how to find the comet at high noon:
Just step outside and face south.
The comet lies about 5 degrees to the left of the sun.
(Use your closed fist held horizontally at arms length to estimate a 5 degree angle.)
The comet should be obvious as soon as you screen out the sun.

http://www.spaceweather.com/images2007/14jan07/skymap_north.gif

At magnitude -4 to -5, McNaught is the brightest comet since Ikeya-Seki in 1965. So don't miss seeing one of the brightest comets in the last 30 years! Go out and take pictures! And send me all the images you take so I can post them here!

Hat tip to Spaceweather.com.

1 comment:

Wife at large said...

So this post contains instructions for viewing the comet from the Northern Hemisphere, right? Presumably, some of your directions (north v. south) would be reversed for your So. Hem. readers.