Comet SWAN Update

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Comet SWAN update! β˜„οΈ Comet SWAN is just starting to become viable for observation at northern European latitudes as it sails through the constellation Perseus. This one will be very tough to see due to its low altitude and lack of darkness πŸŒ… . In fact it may not be visible at all if you live too far north. However, if you’re up for a real challenge, grab your binoculars and read on.

Just like this week’s Venus and Mercury planetary conjunction πŸͺ , SWAN will be visible towards the north 🧭. As the week progresses it will rise higher and higher in the sky so theoretically should become easier and easier to observe (see attached guide images). Unfortunately this will be countered by less and less darkness as May advances.

The absolute best instrument for spotting a comet is a pair of binoculars, or the widest possible eyepiece you have on a telescope. Scan the sky using my pictures and bright stars for reference. Don’t expect a huge streaking object like you’ll see in astronomy magazines (or the front image I’ve attached πŸ˜† ) – If you’re very lucky you might detect a tiny and faint smudge.

The darker your surroundings and more dark adapted your vision the better πŸŒ‘ πŸ‘€ , so stay away from bright street lights and mobile phone screens for at least 15 minutes. If you live under street lights πŸŒƒ your chances of sighting the comet are far lower but don’t let that put you off. Comets can vary in brightness dramatically and can very occasionally brighten enough to be detected naked eye.

What’s great about this challenge is you can also look out for Mercury and Venus at the same time, as all the action takes place towards the same cardinal direction – North.

Good luck and clear skies.

 

Comet Swan

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Image of Comet Swan, now a naked eye object at magnitude 5.1. Unfortunately views will be challenging this far north due to sky brightness and low viewing altitudes. Friends further south might have some luck especially near the end of May, but best views will be in the southern hemisphere. Β I’ll post more observing details later this month. Β Stay tuned to my FB site meanwhile.