Hello/goodbye to bright comet!

JAN. 11 UPDATE: See a photo of Comet McNaught shot from Northeast Ohio last night (Jan. 10) by a friend of mine. Visit the Web home of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association.

UPDATE: Well, I saw it! Briefly. I went to the roof of the library during my dinner hour taking along my camera and tripod. It was a beautiful sunset with orange and red colors illuminating jet contrails in the western sky. As the twilight dimmed and Venus sparkled to the southwest, I spotted Comet McNaught glowing a ghostly white between the orange jet trails. It was bright, even at about 5:30 when I first sighted it. Still, as the night fell so did the comet. Already low in the sky, McNaught sank behind the trees far to the west of the building before it really became photogenic, only visible to me for 10 minutes or so. Still, I saw it with and without the telephoto lens: my first comet of the year! So, with freezing metal tripod in hand, I headed back into the building and back to work. I hope you got to see this comet or will see it yet! Read original post, below....

Comet McNaught has been thrilling skywatchers around the world for several days now. Discovered in August 2006, it continues to brighten as it approaches the Sun and it is now reported to be the brightest comet seen in 30 years. Our wonderful Northeastern Ohio cloud cover has hidden the view from us. If, however, the sky clears enough tonight (Jan. 10) you owe it to yourself to go outside and try and spot this "hairy star." A clear view of the western horizon is essential, because the comet hangs very low. As the twilight fades to black, it should become visible to the naked eye a little to the north of where the Sun set, in the west-southwest. Don't be late... McNaught will quickly sink below the horizon trailing the Sun! No telescope is needed to enjoy this show but binoculars will provide a fantastic view.

If Thursday (Jan. 11) dawns clear, pop outdoors just before sunrise and look to the east -- you may spot McNaught there -- but it will be very low on the horizon!

After that, Comet McNaught will disappear into the Sun's glare as it plunges towards our star, then swings behind the Sun ending our chance of seeing it on this pass though the inner solar system. It will, however, be in an excellent viewing position for southern hemisphere observers as the comet emerges and begins its outward trek. Some predict Comet McNaught will become the brightest comet seen in a century for those lucky Southern stargazers.

For a list of library materials about comets, click here!

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