- At least four comets are gracing our skies, and all are observable
with small telescopes. I saw three of them last night. Too bad the
best of the four, Comet Encke, was already behind the trees as I got
started. All of the following observations were made with a 4.5" f/4
telescope during the first quarter moon:
Comet C/2002 T7 LINEAR
I could see the comet at 22x, but it showed much better at 57x. I
could also detect a slight tail, and a very bright core. In the
short while observing it movement was detected away from the close
9.9 mag star TYC 02351-0445-1.
Comet C/2001 HT50 LINEAR-NEAT
At 11.3 mag it was quite difficult in the 4.5" on this moonlit
evening. Once the moonlight spilling down the telescope tube was
blocked it became a little easier to see the comet.
My notes read, "Ah, too bad..I just can't see the comet; it's a
little beyond the reach of the 4.5". However, after relaxing my eye
it suddenly appeared as a vvf, fairly large blur exactly in the
correct location! It surely is at the very limit of a 4.5" scope.
Good comet hunting. Be sure to catch Comet Encke early after sunset.