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Sunday, May 18, 2008


Comet C/2007 W1 Boattini in STEREO

Despite brightening significantly, Comet Boattini is hidden to me at the moment. It's nice to have rain after a decade of drought, but this is a bit ridiculous. Also, the brightening Moon will make it very difficult to see.

However, Boattini is currently in the field of view of the STEREO Secchi H2a camera. It won't be there for long, but it looks pretty good as it speeds along.

Comet Boattini is brightening more rapidly than predicted, if it keeps this up it will be visible to the unaided eye relatively easily in late May - early June (provided you have dark skies of course, and all you will see is a fuzzy dot). Currently, the waxing Moon makes Boattini hard to see, but after May 21, with the Moon rising later, it will be time to start viewing this comet again. It may get as bright as magnitude 3.5 - 4 by mid June, although it will be fairly low to the horizon when the sky is dark. See here for a spotters chart, a printable PDF map suitable for use with binoculars in conjunction with the spotters map form 21-29 May is here.

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ian, would it be possible to view this comet unaided, in europe? do you know where the name Boatini, originated?
It may be just possible if you are at a dark sky site (a bit difficult in Europe) in Southern Europe. But in northern Europe it's a bit of a bustat the moment
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