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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

 

Comet C/2014 Q1 from Australia (30 July - 6 August 2015)

The evening sky at 700 pm ACST looking west as seen from Adelaide from 30 July to 6 August.  The circles show successive positions of Comet C/2014 Q1 PanSTARRS every two days. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at equivalent local times. (click on image to embiggen).

Comet C/2014 Q1 PanSTARRS is climbing higher in the sky, and is now visible after Astronomical twilight.

Unfortunately it is fading (current estimates are around magnitude 7) and the Moonlight is increasing as the Moon heads towards a blue Moon on the 31st.  After this the sky will be darker, but the comet will only be accessible in telescopes.

Printable black and white map suitable for use with binoculars, the  circle is the field of view of 10x50 binoculars. The time is 19:00 ACST, similar views will be seen at equivalent local times elsewhere in Australia. Click to embiggen and print.

If you try looking an hour and a half after sunset you will see it low above the horizon. After last weeks effort the skies have been covered in cloud, so I have no sightings to report.

The comet is only visible in high power binoculars or a telescope, it is currently around magnitude 7 as a fuzzy ball of light (with a short tail in small telescopes).

On the 30th sweeping right of Lambda hydra (one of the three bright stars in Hydra, just below the distinctive contellation of Crater the cup) by about two binocular fields should bring you to the comet (there are no other bright fuzzy blobs about).

Animation of Comet C/2014 Q1 PanSTARRS at 7:00 pm from  30 July to 6 August. Click to embiggen

As the week progresses, the comet continues to climb higher in the sky but remains near Hydra.

On the 6th the comet is within a binocular field of  nu Hydra and alpha Crater (right and below) will bring you to the comet. At this time it should be around magnitude 10.

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