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C/2009 R1 McNaught

Posted: June 1st, 2010, 11:45 am
by Christopher K.
The latest report to the IAU’s Minor Planet Center (http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/iau/icq/CometMags.html) is of a 7.3 magnitude and a 7’-diameter coma, from A. Amorim in Florianopolis, Brazil, using 20x80 binoculars on the 27th.

The brightest estimate in the past week—6.8—comes from M. Goiato, using 7x50s in Aracatuba, Brazil.

This might be as tough as Lulin. Right now R1 McNaught is crossing from Pisces into Andromeda—maybe 3 to 3½° from Mirach. Mirach doesn’t get 30° above the horizon until 4:30am.

On 5 June it will come very close to open cluster NGC 752. On 6 June and 7 June it’ll be ~2° from Gamma Andromedae. During all this time, it should brighten more; I think it’s brighter now than predicted for a few weeks ago.

During this entire apparition R1 McNaught will stay farther from the Earth than the Sun.

Here is Gary Kronk’s May finder map.
http://cometchasing.skyhound.com/comets/2009_R1.gif

This is a good Sky and Telescope article from Greg Bryant on the 19th.
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observin ... 77259.html

Chris Peat has set up an R1 McNaught page on Heavens Above.
http://www.heavens-above.com/comet.aspx ... t=0&tz=CET

Re: C/2009 R1 McNaught

Posted: June 11th, 2010, 11:09 pm
by Christopher K.
2009 R1 McNaught is definitely getting brighter. The latest report to the IAU’s Minor Planet Center is of a 5.9 magnitude and a 5’-diameter coma, from K. Sarneczky in Piszkesteto, Hungary, using 20x60 binoculars on the 10th. Merrill and Wally both tell me this comet sparks memories of C/1996 B2 Hyakutake (http://www.cometography.com/lcomets/1996b2.html). Reports going into Sky & Telescope state the ion trail can be seen with small binoculars.

On the 9th it formed a small triangle with Messier 34 and 14 Persei. It should get closest to Capella around 9am Baton Rouge time on the 21st. This is the week to look! By the 26th it will be quite low in the northern sky.

There is a breathtaking image (June 6.02) posted on Cometography from Michael Jager in Austria. He used a 20-cm telescope and an SXV-H9 CCD camera to get separate 70-second exposures using red, green, and blue filters and then combined the images:
http://cometography.com/lcomets/2009r1.html

Jose Hernandez made an image on 7 June from the Altamira Observatory in the Canary Islands. The green coma is quite obvious:
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap100607.html

Sky & Telescope updates:
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observin ... 77259.html

Gary Kronk's June finder map:
http://cometchasing.skyhound.com/comets/2009_R1.gif

Re: C/2009 R1 McNaught

Posted: June 20th, 2010, 3:28 pm
by Christopher K.
Trevor, Ben and I were at the BRAS dark sky site from 3:30am to 5:30am this morning. We were joined by Art for most of that time.

Trevor was very adept at getting a variety of Messiers in the 6" SkyQuest. And, of course, thank goodness Art came since we really needed his 8" for what we're almost positive was R1 McNaught. Ben got the object in Art's scope. It was in the right place (above Capella) at the right time, and looked like a comet with no appreciable dust tail--just like the reports we've been reading. Although we can't confirm it with another viewing, I'm inclined to believe it was R1 McNaught. Sky & Telescope has received reports that some are seeing the ion tail in dark skies, but for us the comet was in the direction of Baton Rouge's sky glow.

The meteors were a wonderful addition to our morning. There are no major showers right now, and the June Bootids (a minor shower) don't peak until next week, so all of the ones we saw I suppose can be considered "sporadics".

I wholeheartedly agree with Ben that the Milky Way was spectacular. It's such a shame that it's considered a "rare treat" for a large percentage of people in the world these days. Still, it's good that it can be seen so close to Baton Rouge--and reinforces the idea that it might not be as hard as some think to bring it back into town.

See also "McNaught Success" in the General Discussion section.