From: TerryMoselaol.com Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 14:07:17 EST Subject: Comet on a Coathanger! Hi all, (Apologies if this is a second copy - I have emailing problems!) Just had a lovely view of Comet P2 Encke in the middle of the 'Coathanger' Cluster! It's officially known as Brocchi's Cluster, or Cr 399, in Vulpeculum. It's easily visible in my 30 x 80 binocs, in the curve of the 'hook'. I would estimate the magnitude at about 8.0 To find it, just continue the line from Altair thru Gamma Aql for 11 degrees from Gamma. This is the comet with the shortest known period, and this (up to about 10 - 12 Dec), will be our best chance to see it for many years! Have a look! Clear Skies, Terry Moseley
From: TerryMoselaol.com Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 18:36:18 EST Subject: Comet Encke, Another aurora? TV. Hi all, 1. Did you get a look at Comet P2 / Encke? I observed it at about 18.20 this evening (22/11), in 30x80 binocs, at about magnitude 8.0. It's quite diffuse, so it actually shows up better in big binocs than in a telescope, unless you have a very low power wide field eyepiece. It will be brightening steadily over the next few weeks as it moves towards perihelion on Dec 29, and may attain 3rd magnitude, although by then it will be too close to the Sun to be seen. It will be easiest to observe from now until the Moon gets too bright again in the evening sky - say until about Nov 29 or 30. Then there will be a very brief window of a day or two when it may still just be visible in the twilight in early/mid December, after Full Moon (on Dec 8d 21h) has been & gone. But a lot depends on how much it brightens between now & then - I'll update you all later. Catch it just as soon as the sky gets really dark, while it's still fairly high up - it will sink RAPIDLY down into the twilight over the next few weeks!
2. Dave Gradwell reports an aurora visible from Birr earlier this evening: " Hi Terry Observing aurora activity now 19:17, 22 Nov in Birr. NNW Greens below Dipper and red rays to east of Dipper. Dave Gradwell" - Sorry I didn't get a chance to pass this on earlier. But there's no sign of activity here (Glengormley), then or now, and no reports from other observers in Ireland. But the Sun is still really active, with three major groups, at least one of which was visible to the unaided eye today! (I've just received a lovely composite picture of these from Peter Paice, which I'll send on tomorrow!) 3. TV: Thursday 27 Nov, BBC2, 9.00. Horizon: "Last Flight of Columbia" looks at the causes of the Shuttle disaster, and what might have been done to sae the crew. Set the video now, just in case you forget to watch it.... Also: Friday 28 Nov, 02.00 (i.e. ' later on Thursday night'....), BBC2 "The Learning Zone: The Search for Reality". About Einstein's rejection of Quantum Physics. Clear skies, Terry Moseley
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