Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Comet 45P Brightens Close to the Horizon.
Comet 45P is around magnitude 8, bright enough to be theoretically seen in binoculars from dark sky sites, however, it is very low to the horizon at astronomical twilight, just a hand span (six degrees) and there is a very narrow window for observing it before it is too low to image or see through the horizon murk. It will look like a fuzzy dot in binoculars and small telescopes. In astroimages a nice tail can be seen.
The comet is brightening and is almost midway between psi and beta Capricornii at the moment, a line drawn through Venus and Mars points to it(see printable chart above). During the next week it heads towards theta Capricornii and should reach magnitude 7, but becomes too close to the horizon at astronomical twilight (an hour and a half after sunset) to observe.