COMETS OBSERVED BY ME
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As of now I have been able to see only the brighter ones, those reaching naked-eye or small telescope visibility, and am waiting to observe those that get much fainter with larger scopes. Below is the list of the comets observed by me in ascending order of date.
I have missed out umpteen comets since the first days from 2004; even those hundreds of attempts have ended up in vain. I wonder atleast 20-25 more could have been added to this list, if only...
(A) These are the comets both found and observed by me.
DATE & TIME
C/2002 T7 (LINEAR)
|~ 17 Jan.
|PISCES||7x50 binoculars on tripod||Quite big coma, diffuse, Magnitude = 8.0|
|2||C/2001 Q4 (NEAT)||8 May
|CANIS MINOR / MONOCEROS||7x50 binoculars||Diffuse and somewhat stretched coma.
It had a bright stellar nucleus with a bright coma around it, covering
the entire field of view. The tail wasn't very clear in a telescope. In binoculars the comet was clearly visible as a fuzzy object in the evening sky.
[This comet passed very close to the open cluster M-44 (Beehive) on the 14-15th. of May.]
|3||C/2004 Q2 (Machholz)||11 Dec. 2004
~ 10:00 p.m.
6" f/8 equatorial telescope
stellar nucleus, perfectly round coma with an outer fainter envelope.
Visible with naked-eye even from a city and appeared as a fuzzy round
ball from a dark site. Magnitude = 6.1
[This comet passed very close to the open cluster M-45 (Pleiades) on the 7-8th. Jan.]
|4||C/2006 A1 (Pojmanski)||25 Feb. 2006
|CAPRICORNUS||8" f/8 equatorial telescope||It looked just like a bright globular cluster in appearance and small in size , highly condensed. After few seconds of staring a thin extension of haze pointing towards the west was revealed. This tail was approximately around half degree in length, very diffuse and thin.|
|5||73/P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3||25 March 2006
~ 11 p.m.
|Bootes||8" f/8 equatorial telescope||Click here for description|
|6||4/P Faye||24 Sept. 2006
- 3 a.m.
17 Oct 2006 - 1am
10" f/5.1 Dobsonian telescope
star-hopping for around 4-5 degrees brought me to this very faint and
elusive object. I would have run over this object million times if it
wasn't for the detailed finder chart. At first glance there was nothing
there but further staring revealed a very faint ghostly patch of light.
Further staring made me feel as if it's a circular patch. It was truly
faint with a 9.5" telescope so no further observations and details
could be made out in this. Not even sure whether it was a low-surface
brightness object or actually a bright/condensed object.
|7||C/2006 L1 Garradd||21 Oct. 2006
~ 4:30 am
12" f/4.5 Dobsonian telescope
between lights from our dark-observing site. This was announced to be observed at 11th mag.
With a detailed finder-chart I finally star-hopped to this
location. At first glance there was obviously just nothing visible then,
because of the tremendous back-ground lights.
But further staring slowly started revealing some very faint thing at
my limit of visibility. Hence there was just nothing that I could
observe in the object, except for just 'sensing' it's presence. There was lots of sky-glow in that region
(probably Zodiacal light?)
|8||C/2006 M4 (SWAN)||26 Oct 2006
|Corona Borealis||8" f/8
10x50 Olympus binoculars
|This was a bright object through the telescope which I used. It showed a bright coma region as if radiating light with a brighter stellar condensation. It was reminiscent of Pojmanski seen earlier this year. SWAN, with binoculars was as a fuzzy spot, nearly the same as M13 globular which was at the other edge of field of view, but slightly brighter and it showed faint extensions of a very diffuse and thin tail in the direction away from the Sun. I could also spot this with the naked-eyes as the faintest star seen with naked-eyes! Yes this was truly spectacular as it had reached just naked-eye visibility, something not very often.|
|9||P/2006 T1 (Levy)||27 Oct 2006
|Leo||8" f/8 equatorial telescope||It was in the
eastern direction, rising still and hence immersed in lights (zodiacal
light mostly). Making a detailed finder chart from a software I
star-hopped to the location from the star Phi Leonis for around 4-5
degrees. During this time, it was very close to the galaxy NGC 3521 in a
close rendezvous with it. I could spot the galaxy first quite easily but
had a hard time spotting the comet which was just nearby. After further
staring in the eyepiece and shifting between eyepieces/magnifications I
could spot something very tiny and non-stellar. This had to be (could
it?) the comet
in the predicted position. At this time it was overlapping an 11th mag.
star. and hence the view was a combined effect. I couldn't observe
anything further in this object as it was at my limit of visibility,
very small and immersed in background lights.
This is the only comet with an element of doubt of me having observed it!!!
|10||C/2006 P1 (McNaught)||13 Jan 2007 -
14 Jan 2007 - 6:00 pm
10x50 Olympus binoculars
has created history! This has gone to be the brightest comet in past 3
decades!! It has reached observed magnitude of -4 at max. also visible
However the view to me through a binocular was that of a small bright comet in twilight with a clear extension which was the tail. It resembled like an artist's painting of a small comet! The tail was broadening out and was small visible. With a 12" telescope in twilight it showed a stellar bright yellow core with hints of a parabolic tail, very small.
|11||C/2007 E2 (Lovejoy)||15 April 2007 - 3 am||Sagittarius||12" f/4.5
10x50 Olympus binoculars (barely visible)
|This comet was very close to the naked-eye reference star 55 Sagittarius hence very easy to find! It was pretty bright with relatively high surface brightness. It had a perfectly circular coma and showed some very slight hints of central condensation.|
|12||17/P Holmes||25th October 2007 - 10 pm||Perseus||10x50 Olympus
|This comet has set a new record! This comet unexpectedly entered our observation logs and within one day underwent an outburst from 17th mag to 3rd mag...around 100,00 times in brightness!!!!! It is totally stellar in appearance with bright yellowish-orange color in binoculars!! Conspicuously visible with naked-eyes in city inspite of light pollution and Full-Moon light!!!!|
|13||8/P Tuttle||5th January 2008 - 8 pm||Pisces||12" f/4.5
10x50 Olympus binoculars
|Bright condensed and circular coma with binocs. With scope it appeared better, outer coma with brighter central condensation. Coma maybe 10 arc minutes across.|
|14||46/P Wirtanen||12th January 2008 - 8 pm||Perseus||12" f/4.5 Dobsonian telescope||Extremely faint even with a 12" scope, since the crescent bright Moon-light was disturbing the view just 20-degrees away. Coma hardly visible as a small faint smudge, and details could not be seen. It was very close to naked-eye star 33 Piscium beside 30 Piscium.|
|15||C/2007 W1 (Boattini)||10th April 2008 - 11 pm||Corvus||8" f/8 Equatorial telescope||Very diffuse, no outer boundary, quite difficult to spot even though bright at 8th mag.|
|16||C/2006 Q1 (McNaught)||10th April 2008 - 11 pm||Antlia||8" f/8 Equatorial telescope||Very faint and tiny circular patch. Could barely glimpse it. Saw it move after sometime, confirming it's presence.|
|17||C/2007 N3 (Lulin)||4th Sept 2008
- 9 pm
6th January 2009 - 5am
Very faint and boundary-less patch. No bigger than 3 arc minutes.
It appeared as a small condensed globular, coma not very spherical in shape, around 5-6 arc-minute in diameter. Could not observe other details due to twilight and zodiacal light.
|18||6/P d'Arrest||4th Sept 2008 - 9 pm||Ophiuchus||8" f/8 Equatorial telescope||
field as the reference star Gamma
Microscopium. quite big around 6 arc-minutes. Quite diffuse but discernable as a
bigger round patch. However, I was shocked to see it move some arc
minutes, just some time away!!
|19||C/2006 W3 Christensen||23 Oct 2008 - 9 pm||Cepheus||25x100 Oberwerk binocs on a P-mount||Only
appeared as a very small and very faint glow with the large
binocs, with long staring, in the estimated field of
Observed on successive ocassions
|20||C/2006 OF2 Broughton||5th December 2008 - 1am||Lynx||8" f/8 Equatorial telescope||I was not
expecting to find it,
considering it to be small and faint, and in the faint-star studded
Northern sky. With the detailed finder chart, I star hopped to the
respective position near star 8-Lynx and saw a faint patch reminiscent
of a tiny spiral face-on galaxy, beside 2 stars. I even observed it
after around 2 hours to see it's movement, however not better.
|21||144/P Kushida||30th Dec 2008 - 11pm||Taurus||10x50
6" f/6 Equatorial scope
|I wasnt expecting it to be so bright, it was right there at zenith as a diffuse spot. It was behind a 9.5 mag star; with the 20x80 binocs the star appeared like the bright stellar nucleus and the comet as it's tail. I was mistaken into believing this, realizing later the tail was the comet itself and the nucleus was a just foreground star. The coma diameter was 3 arc minutes and it should be around 8th mag.|
|22||29/P Schwassmann-Wachmann 1||21st Jan 2009 - 11pm||Gemini||8" f/8 Equatorial scope||I actually spotted a faint 2-star asterism of 11.55 and 12.12 mag stars, which caught my eye to be the comet. Well, this 'distraction' infact revealed another patch with averted vision to be the comet! It was very diffuse with a non distinct boundary. Alternating our vision only revealed it, we spent half an hour on observing this, but nothing much.|
|23||22P/Kopff||29 March 2009
|Sagittarius||17.5" f/5 Discovery scope||I wonder how did we ever get
this?! My friend Akarsh spotted this while I was finding it. This was
sincerely extremely faint even with the 17" aperture! One of my faintest
observations. It matched the position in the finder chart nearly.
It was excessively diffuse and obviously boundariless. Do not recollect the coma size at the time of writing in September. There is literally nothing else we could do with this.
|24||C/2008 Q3 Garradd||16th
June 2009 -
|Centaurus||25x100 binocs handheld||Since we were holding the 25x100 handheld, we couldnt do much with this fuzzy appearance-comet. It didnt have a distinct boundary and appeared small, fuzzy but relatively bright. I do not recollect the diameter at this time of writing in September, even though I had estimated it back then.|
|25||88/P Howell||16th October
|Ophiuchus||8" f/8 scope||I was very
lucky with this one, inspite of having attempted for it in similar
conditions earlier. It was low in the sky and above western horizon.
Within 10 minutes of setting up the telescope, I used the detailed
finder chart to track this. After finding M19 first, I star hopped to
the nearby small NGC 6293 globular. The comet was in a visual rendezvous
with this..they were in the same field! There was something distinct and
fuzzy, faint that caught my eye.
It was around half a magnitude fainter than the globular, and similar size (3 arc minutes) But it appeared slightly elongated to one side, rather than a typical circular.
|26||217/P LINEAR||17th October
|Monoceros||8" f/8 scope||This comet was
in a minor outburst, and my expectations were higher than expected. With
a detailed finder chart, I star hopped to the precise location. At first
glance, there was nothing there, and you would have run over it many
times. With staring at the right place, a disappointing glow of light
appeared. Averted vision suited better.
This was not perfectly circular, but appeared a very little extended on one side. There was some very mild streak appearing emanating from the center (maybe an impression formed after seeing it's images). It had an overall low surface brightness, for a 10th mag comet. I indeed wonder, I would never have been able to spot it if it wasn't in that small outburst of its.
|Orion||17.5" f/5 Discovery scope||This
was observed on a session couple days before this. Just a tiny spot of
light, no more than maybe an arc minute in diameter. What else can I report on
Sounds historic (for the one with same name that crashed into Jupiter in 1994).
|28||C/2003 Q3 Siding Spring||22nd
|Coma||17.5" f/5 Discovery scope||Just a fuzz around 5 arc-minute in diameter at best. Showed hints of slight gradual condensation towards the center. Nothing more. I had been waiting for this for sometime now.|
|29||81/P Wild||6th February
|A smaller fuzz
2 arc-minute in diameter. It measured the span between two TYC stars in
the field. It was not showing any condensation, just clear uniform
diffuseness. Nothing more.
This name reminds us of the StarDust mission sent to collect samples of cometary material. I had actually seen the parent body!
|30||C/2009 K5 McNaught||14
|Aquila||17.5" f/5 Discovery scope||This
comet was found by us during the ending half of Messier Marathon, and
not far from the globular NGC 6760!
This was simply a medium bright beauty, resplendent. High surface brightness, central nucleus bright, and sensation of some stubbiness wanting to come out from the coma (tail?)
|31||C/2009 R1 McNaught||14
|Pegasus||25x100 Oberwerk binocs on tripod|
HIGHLIGHTS OF ABOVE COMETS:
This was the comet discovered by the veteran comet-hunter David H. Levy on the same date that we were observing. This is his remarkable lucky 22nd discovery as all other observers throughout the world missed it, as it was close to Saturn just less than a degree from it!! We too missed discovering this!!!
This was the historic "Great Comet of 2007" which was the brightest one after 40 years, after Ikeya-Seki!! This one reached a peak magnitude of -5 (negative 5!!) on January 14, 2007. This was so very bright that it was visible to experienced observers just few degrees away from the Sun with naked-eyes and with binoculars when they used to just block the Sun's glare with their hands or obstruct with a building!!!!! This really deserves to be called a "Daylight Comet of 2007"!! We are so extremely fortunate to have such an event happening in our lives, and even witness it ourselves!
(B) These are the comets not found but only observed by me.
DATE & TIME
|C/2006 VZ13 (LINEAR)||12 June 2007||Andromeda||Was extremely fortunate to glimpse this with the 40-inch f/13 SCT telescope at Kavalur Observatory!! The telescope operator was kind enough to point the telescope there and spend some time on it. I also got access to the hand-pad of the telescope and managed to move the huge telescope around and hunt for the comet!!! Finally managed to get this very fuzzy and low surface brightness object in the small field of the eyepiece (approximately 10-arcinutes!). It has a slight brightening in the center. Due to the huge magnification and low f.o.v of the telescope, it was initially quite difficult getting this comet!|
(C) Other comets seen
DATE & TIME
|Hale-Bopp||1997||------||Hardly remember anything about it. Observed it in my 7th std. from my huge school hostel 30 km outskirts of Coimbatore city in Tamil Nadu, and before my days into astronomy. All I remember is "seeing something there with naked-eyes called Comet Hale-Bopp!!"|
|Ikeya-Zhang||2002||------||Hardly remember anything about this too. Observed this with a telescope during my first days into astronomy at a public star party by an astronomy association, Khagol Mandal outside Mumbai city at a location called Vangani.|
MY FAVOURITE COMET OBSERVED:
MY MOST ALL-TIME FAVOURITE COMET (NOT OBSERVED EXCEPT IN PHOTOS!):
ASTRONOMICAL LEAGUE SILVER COMET CERTIFICATE:
I have received the Silver Comet certificate from the Astronomical League. This is given to any observer who has managed to observe and record 12 comets. I am very lucky for this to happen! Please see this page for more info.
ALAN HALE'S Countdown to 500 Comets PROGRAM
The famed co-discoverer of Comet Hale-Bopp, and an advanced amateur comet expert, Alan Hale has started a program called Countdown to 500 Comets, to mark his journey from his 400th comet observation to his 500th!!! He in inviting amateurs to contribute to observations and understanding of these celestial bodies.
I am contributing as an observer, observing comets from his list of the next 100 (Currently to be standing at 17, instead of 14, after webpage is updated):
I'm also fortunate to have been in the first 10 international observers to have completed observing 10 of his next 100 comets (as of 30 October, 2008):