Comet C/2012 K5 LINEAR

Dec 31

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12/31/2012 4:12 PM  RssIcon

Because I don't like to highlight objects in "Eyes on the Sky" videos I have not seen myself, I generally don't include things like comets where I have not viewed them to determine how easy they are to see.  Case in point: Comet C/2012 K5 LINEAR.  This comet has brightened up quite a bit over the last few weeks, and has even zipped right through the Big Dipper stars, then gone on through a fairly star poor region of sky.  That said, the magnitude information I have found ranges all over the map, from 11.5 to 8.5.  That's a pretty significant difference - a large enough one, in fact, that if I were to suggest it could be seen in a "XYZ" sized scope, it may not be due to it's actual brightness overall.  It may be close to 11.5 or 10.5, which is going to be a lot harder to see than if it really is at 8.5

Well, it's about to re-enter an area with well-known stars, but as you may have guessed from some of my other blog posts: It's cloudy here!  So, rather than make a video and hope that everyone can see it, I'm making this blog post instead so you can find some information to search for it if your skies are clear.  It will be conveniently situated near some bright stars in Auriga this coming week, so it's a great time to get out there and have a look, if you have the opportunity based on your local weather.

The best map I've found for finding it this week is at AstroBob's site.  He lists the magnitude quite high - around that 8.0 to 8.5 range.  If it is there, it should be a great site in most any small telescope.  If it's dimmer, it will be more of a fuzzball, and harder to see in binoculars.  Either way, give it a shot, especially on the nights of the 1st through the 4th.


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The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.