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Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Comet 96P/Machholz in SOHO

Comet 96P Macholz in the SOHO C3 camera (image credit NASA/SOHO). The comet is the elongated fuzzy streak at lower left of the SOHO image.

Comet 96P Machholz is a periodic comet with an orbit of roughly 5 years. This return it looks like Machholz will not peak much more than magnitude 3. From the Southern hemisphere the view of Machholz is poor. It won't be visible after civil twilight until around April 14th, when it will be around magnitude 8, very difficult to see in the twilight.

However, orbital elements are here. An animation of the comet entering the C3 camera field of view is here (warning 2 Mb). Otherwise, watch the YouTube version below. There is a nice flare about half-way in, then the comet appears low on the bottom left hand edge.

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