Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Comet A1 Pojmanski and an Occultation
What a wonderful morning, I finally saw the elusive Comet Pojmanski and imaged the occultation of Antares, Jupiter and Venus. The skies were clear, the weather crisp and Scorpius arched over my head in the predawn dark. Just magical.
Comet A1 Pojmanski has eluded me over the past weeks, even though it is bright enough to see in binoculars (and everyone else seemed to see it) as my south east horizon suffers form light pollution. This morning though, with good dark (for the suburbs) skies, and a distinctive kite shaped group of stars in Sagittarius as a guide, I finally picked up the fuzzy dot that is Pojmanski. As I had the scope dedicated to imaging the occultation, I didn't have a telescopic view, but the binocular view was quite satisfying.
Pojmanksi will be at its brightest over the next few days (somewhere around magnitude 5.5). It's not far from Venus, if you use the image above (click to enlarge, I'll put up a proper spotters map later tonight hopefully), you should be able to locate the comet easily enough in binoculars. At astronomical twilight (when the sky is still very dark), the comet is around 15 degrees (about 2 and a half handspans) above the horizon, and should be relatively easy to spot (Northern hemisphereians, the comet will not become visible for a few days yet). On Sunday 25 Feb, the crescent Moon will be close to Venus, so it will be worthwhile getting up to look for the comet at an early hour.