University Lowbrow Astronomers

Comet 2004 Q2 (Machholz)

Comet 2004 Q2 (Machholz)
by Doug Scobel

Comet 2004 Q2 (Machholz)

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.

Object:

Comet C/2004 Q2 (Machholz)

Date/Time:

January 17, 2005 00:45 UT

Location:

Saline, Michigan

Telescope:

13” f/4.5 Newtonian

Eyepiece/Magnification:

28mm Pretoria/53x

Field diameter:

56’

Object magnitude:

4.0 (very approximate)

Object altitude:

Approximately 85 degrees

Sky transparency:

NELM approx 4.2 at zenith; 6 day old moon

Sky steadiness:

7/10

Description:

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.

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