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ABEL 05-15-2004 07:59 PM

Comets visible!


For people in the Northern Hemisphere, Q4 will put on the better show. After spending the first four months of the year buried deep in the southern sky, the comet shoots northward during May. By the end of May’s first week, it looks like a fuzzy “star” low in the southwest as the last glimmer of evening twilight fades away. On May 7, it lies to the upper left of the brightest star in the sky, Sirius. (Don’t confuse Sirius with the planet Venus, a far brighter object currently standing in the west as darkness falls.)

The comet gains significant altitude with each passing night. By mid-May — the prime viewing time for North American observers — it lies halfway between the horizon and directly overhead as twilight ends. Be sure to check out the view on the evenings of May 14 and 15. Comet Q4 then skirts the edge of the Beehive star cluster (M44), a collection of dozens of stars that is one of the finest binocular objects in the spring sky. The tail of the comet will stream to the upper left of M44.

Although Comet T7 will put on a better display for viewers in the Southern Hemisphere, North American observers shouldn’t pass it by. The peak of the show should come during the first week of June, when the comet lies low in the west-southwest after twilight fades. For the best view, find an observing location with a dark sky and a clear view of the west-southwestern horizon. T7 still may be bright enough to see without optical aid, but binoculars will give you a better view and, in any case, make the task of finding it easier. On June 4, the comet passes just below Alphard, the brightest star in the constellation Hydra. T7’s tail then lies nearly parallel to the horizon.

Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT)


On May 15, observers in the Northern Hemisphere will find C/2001 Q4 conveniently placed along the arc of bright planets extending from brilliant Venus, through Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter (not shown). That night, the comet also passes near a compact sprinkling of stars called the Beehive cluster (M44). The pair will make a fine sight through binoculars.

Comet C/2002 T7 (LINEAR)

Northern Hemisphere observers will see C/2002 T7 low in the west-southwest in the late evening. The comet tracks through the faint stars of Hydra but passes about 30° below bright Jupiter.

Justified 05-15-2004 08:53 PM

nice, i am going to look for this.

fah 05-15-2004 10:39 PM

Ok, I'm going to look....I know I look up in the sky, when it's dark, but where in the sky?


ABEL 05-15-2004 11:24 PM


Originally posted by fah
Ok, I'm going to look....I know I look up in the sky, when it's dark, but where in the sky?


*points to the star map above* :wink:

about half way up to the west/southwest, an hour or two after sunset is the best time to view it. i don't think its a very bright comet...it will probably look like a fuzzy star with a whispy tail.

unfortunately there's a thin layer of high clouds that's interfering with seeing the comet here :mad:

it should still be visible for the next 7 days or so.

fah 05-15-2004 11:39 PM

Thanks ABEL

Sounds cool, if I were feeling better I would drive up to the top of mountain and have a look. So around 11pm would be a good time?

ABEL 05-16-2004 12:09 AM

hmm...i'm not sure if the times are the same where you are though. here they said a couple hours after sunset, which would be around 9 or 10pm here.

sorry to hear you're not feeling well.
hope you feel better :hug:

fah 05-16-2004 12:25 AM

The readers digest version:

sinus infection
drugs not working yet
left side of face wants to explode

I think looking at a comet will make me feel better though


tiny dancer 05-16-2004 12:55 AM

It's cloudy here tonight. :rant:

fah 05-16-2004 01:26 AM

I went outside and I couldn't see it :sad:

I will try later

nbcrusader 05-16-2004 10:48 PM


fah 05-16-2004 10:53 PM

I am going to try again tonight

what a bomb! 05-18-2004 02:11 PM

A man takes a rocket ship into the skies
He lives on a star that's dying in the night
And follows in the trail
The scatter of light


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