Tuesday, October 19, 2010
In Which I Fail to See Comet 103P/ Hartley
When I went to bed last night, the clouds had cleared for the first time in ages, so I organised to get up at 4:30 just in case it stayed clear.
I managed to stumble out of bed at the right time and navigated in the dark to the back door, picking up the camera and binoculars on the way.
And completely failed to see comet 03P Hartley.
I wasn't expecting to see much with the unaided eye, a suburban location, with the comet close to the horizon murk didn't give much hop of that. As well, there was a fluoro light just under where the comet was (just near the star forming the tip of the inverted triangle to the left of Capella).
But I didn't see anything in binoculars either, I could see down t at least magnitude 7.5, so I should have picked it up easily, and the camera shot, which picked up stars down to magnitude 7.3, should have shown a faint smudge too.
So it looks like I'll have to wait a couple of days until the comet is higher.
The fact that the brightness is spread over such a large area and that the current perigee is a disadvantage instead of an advantage hasn't been communicated well, though I've tried to convey that message in a number of places.