2008-01-08

Comet Holmes Still Naked Eye Object?

Last Saturday I managed to get out for my first "proper" observing session in a while. I had a pretty good night and managed to get views of Mars, M42, Saturn and M81 and M81.

But that wasn't the best part. The best part was the bit when I spotted something odd near Algol:

While stood looking at the Double Cluster with the naked eye I spotted something close by, near Algol, that appeared to be about the same size and of a similar brightness to it. Initially I was confused about what it was. I quickly grabbed my monocular and had a look and could see that it was a faint but noticeable misty patch. Given that I wasn't aware of any object in that location, and given that I couldn't find any such thing on my charts (not that I expected to — I'd have known about such an object if it were a "fixed" item in the sky), I suspected that it was comet Holmes.
Further visual checks at the time and checks with online charts for Holmes suggest that I really was seeing the comet.

This genuinely surprised me. It's been a while since I last observed it and I'd assumed that it wouldn't be visible to the naked eye any more, that it might even have faded beyond a point where I'd be able to observe it with any of my equipment.

Anyone else out there still seeing it this way?

Also, totally aside from the above, I also decided to try something a little different (for me) in terms of astrophotography (not that I do much astrophotography). I took along my Lomo Lubitel 166B, loaded with Ilford FP+ 125, and during the observing session had it pointing at various parts of the sky for around ½ hour at a time. I've no idea what, if anything, I'm going to get out of it, but I needed to use up some frames on the film and the chance to do some astrophotography with a TLR, on black and white medium-format form, was too good to pass up.

Heck, if it turns out reasonably well I might give it a go with colour next time. Might even mount the 166B on the back of the 130M and use its drive to go for some non-trailed shots.

6 comments:

eddy said...

i was google-ing and I found your post

probably not what I saw yesterday but...

maybe you can tell me what this is

http://www.flickr.com/photos/eddywashere/2178619699/


I thought it was a comet, but I can't seem to find anybody else who found anything like it

Dave Pearson said...

I've replied as a comment on your image.

eddy said...

thanks!!!

CheekyGeek said...

Two comments: I was also surprised to see Holmes remaining a naked eye object (albeit with averted vision) when I went a few miles out of town to try to see the Quantarid meteor shower. Holmes looked like a detatched chunk of the Milky Way, to my naked eyes.

Also, I was sent a photo by a local club member, which I then compared to the TriAtlas map for the area. You might find it interesting:
http://144.216.6.33/holmes-algol

Dave Pearson said...

Perfect. That image is pretty much spot on for what I was seeing.

CheekyGeek said...

Correction: Quadrantid
:\