August 12, 2009

Observing Report of Comet C/2006 W3 Christensen through 25x100 Binocular


On 11th August, I went with Narendrabhai and Kartik Pomal to a village named Dhosa some 12 kms from Bhuj. There we stayed on the terrace of Shiv Temple for the whole night to watch Perseid Meteor Shower. This is our regular place for stargazing. Afternoon that day the sky became almost clear so we expected to see the meteor shower without obstruction of clouds. I got my 10x50 and 25x100 binoculars with me. The 10x50 Olympus is my regular choice for the meteor shower but I carried also 25x100 because I wanted to observe a comet C/2006 W3 Christensen which is in Vulpecula shining at magnitude 8.2 with angular diameter 2’. We got there at 10:45pm. After some 30 minutes I was all set to locate the comet through 25x100. Cygnus was on transit, high on zenith. I remembered the comet’s position from the website http://www.skyhound.com/ . I first located Delphinus and traversed to a wide pair of 5th and 6th magnitude stars roughly 10 degrees NE from Delphinus. The comet was about 3 degrees NW from this pair. When I got to the right location, I saw a round fuzzy blob. It was easy through 25x100 even when I was holding it through my hands without any support. Then I saw the comet also through 10x50, It was rather difficult in the smaller instrument but I glimpsed it. Afterward I tried to see the comet through Narendrabhai’s 8x40 Olympus binocular. In this instrument I could see a very small fuzzy spot only using averted vision.

Meanwhile I also observed few deep-sky objects like, M56, M57, M29, M39, NGC 6910, M11 and M15. The sky of this place was not as clearer as usual. Generally the naked eye star limit varies from 6 to 5.5. But this night it was 4.5. After midnight some clouds started to cover the entire sky and we missed the meteor shower.

After all I was happy because I had seen the first comet through my new 25x100 binocular..!
image credit: www.arksky.org

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