Comets and Change

Up at 5 AM to attempt a rare feat, seeing three comets in one observation.

Two of the three were easy: Comet ISON was definitely brighter than even a few days before and had a noticeable tail. Comet Lovejoy was incredibly bright but had no tail that I could make out. ¬†As Mercury and Saturn rose above the horizon, racing with the sun, I was hoping to see Comet Encke down near Mercury and make it 3-for-3, but couldn’t make it out. Still, it was my first time seeing two comets in one day, so that was noteworthy and quite cool.

The ancients thought comets were the bearer of news from the gods and brought major changes with them. Life’s been so crazy lately…maybe the ancients were right!

Messier 76

Check off the Little Dumbbell Nebula (Messier 76) from the observation list! Using my Orion UltraBlock NarrowBand filter, I caught a good glimpse of what is often considered one of the hardest Messier objects to spot.

To my eyes, it wasn’t as glorious as this photo, but it had a distinctive shape to it, and, per usual, the facts behind it made the fuzzy blur all the more exciting.