Comet Garradd, C/2009 P1

This past Monday I went out to the club field on what looked like it may be a cloudy sky. It was supposed to be clear with low humidity. Weather forecasting is not an exact science. Anyway it did clear up about an hour after sunset but the humidity turned out later to be 81%, so the transparency was not very good but good enough to view. I spent a lot of time revisiting many of the showpiece objects in the summer sky, especially in Sagittarius, but the high light of the night was being able to see comet Garradd in close proximity to the globular cluster M15.

Watching the comet on and off over three hours, I was surprised by how fast it appeared to move. Just watching it, it did not appear to move, but look at something else and come back to it, wow it’s in a different place. I estimated that it moved about 10 to 12 arc minutes in two and a half hours but scaling my sketch it came out to be more like 15 arc minutes of movement in a little over two and a half hours.

This was the first comet that I have looked at since comet Holmes a couple of years ago. It is bright, with a little faint tail and a prediction of becoming much brighter, maybe naked eye. This one will be a lot of fun following over the next month or so.

Oh, yes M15 was a ball of very faint stars over a gray haze at 120x with a 10mm eyepiece combined with a good dose of averted vision.

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