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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Comet Hartley 2

Comet Hartley 2 will be faintly visible tonight and in the early hours of tomorrow morning. Once Orion is up, imagine another "person" standing on Orion's shoulders. Where that person's head would be is the bright star Capella, in Auriga the Charioteer. The comet will be a faint fuzzy blob just below Capella.

If you happen to be far away from city lights, the diffuse coma of this comet is apparently quite large; right now twice as large as the diameter of the full moon. For urban areas, only the inner portions of the comet will be visible.

1 comment:

  1. Went out last night around 2am, the sky was clear and Auriga was was beautiful, but the comet was only faintly visible through 10x35 binoculars, due to light pollution. At sea, It would almost certainly have been clearly visible with the naked eye.

    Also visible in the same area, and potentially mistakable for the comet, are the open Messier clusters M36, M37 and M38.