9-10.01.2007: Comet C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
Just after sunset, clearings formed west of Munich. In spite of
remaining cloud bands, McNaught was conspicuous to the naked eye (about
-2 mag, not much fainter than Venus) and gorgeous with binoculars. The
brightest comet since Hale-Bopp in 1997, and arguably the loveliest one
since West in 1976.
Images: Nikon D100, 550/6.3 Maksutov, ISO 200, 1/8s to 1/2s exposure.
From EPO Skybar, Munich.
C/2006 P1 (McNaught), Munich Skybar, 10.01.07, 16:27 UTC, Nikon D100,
ETX 90, 3x 3s, ISO 400, cropped to 1° FOV.
13.01.2007: Daylight McNaught
Some clearings came over Munich, allowing visual observations of
McNaught in daylight: C11, x110, orange filter / no filter: pseudo-nucleus surface
brightness at least as large as Venus; hints of an antisolar shell,
better visible during "eclipses" = Sun behind clouds but comet in blue sky.
Many images taken with D100 and C11, Contrast Booster & no filter, f/11
& f/22. Here a composite of 3 images, no filter, f/11, 1/2000s, ISO 200,
10:45 UTC, cropped to FOV = 13'.
The comet was an easy binocular (10x42) object in the afternoon of
13.01.07. Around 15:10 UTC i.e. more than half an hour before sunset
(15:44), it became visible to the naked eye. At sunset, it was hardly
less visible than Venus. In view of the small elongation and altitude of
the comet, it must have been substantially brighter than Venus, about -5
mag (indeed, recent magnitude estimates range between -4.7 and -6). A
very compact object, with a tail visible over less than 1°, hence less
spectacular than on 10.01.07.
Numerous short exposure images were taken with the D100 and the
Maksutov, in the 1000/11 and 550/6.3 configurations. Here birds in the
foreground, before sunset (15:10 & 15:41); a "mock comet" made of cirrus
and contrails (15:53); and an airplane, then cloud bands next to the
setting comet (16:05 & 16:11).