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Thursday, December 03, 2015

 

Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina, the Moon and Bright Planets in the Morning (4-8 December, 2015)

Morning sky on Friday December 4 looking east as seen from Adelaide at Nautical twilight (4:50 ACDST) showing the waning Moon, Jupiter,  Mars, and Venus, and comet C/2013 US10.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (Nautical twilight, click to embiggen).Morning sky on Saturday December 5 looking east as seen from Adelaide at Nautical twilight (4:50 ACDST) showing  Jupiter,  the waning Moon, Mars, and Venus, and comet C/2013 US10.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (Nautical twilight, click to embiggen).
Morning sky on Sunday December 6 looking east as seen from Adelaide at Nautical twilight (4:50 ACDST) showing  Jupiter,  Mars, the crescent Moon, Venus, and comet C/2013 US10.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (Nautical twilight, click to embiggen).Morning sky on Monday December 7 looking east as seen from Adelaide at Nautical twilight (4:50 ACDST) showing the Jupiter,  Mars, the crescent Moon, Venus, and comet C/2013 US10.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (Nautical twilight, click to embiggen).
Morning sky on Tuesday December 8 looking east as seen from Adelaide at Nautical twilight (4:50 ACDST) showing Jupiter,  Mars, Venus, the crescent Moon, and comet C/2013 US10.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (Nautical twilight, click to embiggen).Morning sky on Tuesday December 8 looking east as seen from Brisbane at Nautical twilight (3:47 AEST) showing Jupiter,  Mars, Venus, the crescent Moon, and comet C/2013 US10.  (click to embiggen). Compare to the view from Adelaide.

Over the next few days the morning skies will host a gorgeous sight as the waning, then crescent, Moon skips down the bright planets (and the bright star Spica) from the 4th to the 8th of December. As well comet C/2013 US10 Catalina is in a good position to be seen in the morning twilight, although it will be hard to see in the twilight.

Location map of comet C/2013 US10 Catalina suitable for printing. The large circle is the field of view of 10x50 binoculars, the small that of a 24 mm telescope eye piece. Click to embiggen and print.

For the next few days the location of comet Catalina is fairly easy to find. Sweeping down ad east of Venus brings you to Kappa Vriginis  (K on the map) a moderately bright star, the comet is within a binocular field of K Virg.

Unfortunately, with twilight advancing and the comet low on the horizon, it is unlikely to be visible in binoculars, despite it being around magnitude 6, and you will probably have to star hop down from K Virginis with a telescope.

Enlarged map showing the location of comet C/2013 US10 Catalina suitable for printing. Use the top map for orentation, then this one to guide star hoping. The large circle is the field of view of 10x50 binoculars, the small that of a 24 mm telescope eye piece. Click to embiggen and print.

Northern Australia (Brisbane and anywhere north of it) has the best views with the comet being 2-3 hand-spans above the horizon at Nautical twilight (an hour before sunrise).

In Darwin and Alice Springs the comet is even visible around a hand-span above the eastern horizon at Astronomical twilight (an hour and a half before sunrise). For places south of Brisbane the comet is only a hand-span above the horizon at Nautical twilight. Tasmania the comet is even lower.

The climax of this weeks planet dance is on the 8th, when the Moon and Venus are close, and the comet just below them. There have been some great images of the comet coming from Europe, where the comet is much higher in the sky. We are unlikely to see more than a fuzzy blob in our telescopes, but it s worth the hunt.

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Comments:
What is meant by(4:50 ACDST). How do I convert this time to Brisbane time?
 
ACDST (Australian central daylight savings time) just look a handspan below Venus from 4am brisbane time
 
Had a try today. It is unfortunate that it is not visible to the naked eye :(


 
The equivalent time for Brisbane is 3:47 AEST (see the final panel in the series for the view from Brisbane on the 8th at nautical twilight)
 
Saw the Comet this morning :-)

 
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