The clouds finally parted and I got a chance to observe Comet Machholz Sunday evening (16-Jan-2005) from my driveway in Saline, Michigan. With the light pollution and almost first quarter moon, the sky wasn’t real dark so I couldn’t make out a tail. Still, it was a pretty sight in a nice field.
Comet C/2004 Q2 (Machholz)
January 17, 2005 00:45 UT
13” f/4.5 Newtonian
4.0 (very approximate)
Approximately 85 degrees
NELM approx 4.2 at zenith; 6 day old moon
Very bright, just visible naked eye despite moon and light pollution. Very bright and almost star-like nucleus. Coma very broad, with gradual drop-off in brightness. Coma elongated towards the southeast. Tail was hinted at but not definite so I omitted it from sketch. Comet set inside the northwest side of a triangle of 9th or 10th magnitude stars. Ephemeris for 2005-01-17 00:00 UT gives coordinates of RA 03:15.73 Dec +41 39.7 and magnitude 4.2.