That’s two clear nights in a row! I’m just in the door after another very successful observing session but unlike yesterday this one was not form the darkness of rural Ireland but from the light-polluted suburbs of Dublin (Maynooth to be precise). My target for today was the comet SWAN and also to try to track down M92 which I’d missed yesterday.
Armed with a printout of a finder chart for SWAN from the Astronomy Ireland website I set out with my Trusty 10×50 binoculars. I was very pleasantly surprised to find the comet after only a few minutes searching from on the green in my estate. The fact that I could see it at all in the middle of a housing estate was enough to encourage me to jump on my bike and head out into the countryside away form the streetlights. I didn’t go too far, just about half a mile from the end of the last estate but it made enough of a difference to make the comet a lot easier to find and also to make it look a lot fuzzier. I couldn’t see any sign of a tail though. I heard David Moore describe this comet as a ‘naked eye comet’ on this weeks Astronomy Ireland radio show but I just can’t match that description up to reality. This is no naked eye comet. However, it is still worth a look in even the most basic pair of binoculars.
Having successfully found my target for the night I then had some fun and had a quick look at the double cluster and NGC957, the coat hanger, and then decided to try M92 again (now that I’d looked up it’s location again!). I’m happy to report that I found it easily this time. Good to know I wasn’t talking rubbish on the IFAS Podcast when I was telling everyone that M92 is a binocular object in the last few shows!
Anyhow, all in all another good observing session and another Comet that I can say I’ve seen!
P.S. I also did a very quick and very dirty sketch of the position of the comet which is shown below.