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Welcoming visitors and comets

I have recently updated this site to use a new content management system. This should make it a lot easier to find things, make site updates, and use this site as a record of observations I make. I have kept all the material from the old version of this site, so it should be possible to find old favorites.

Recently, I welcomed Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (a.k.a. Comet 73/P Schwassmann-Wachmann) into my back yard. As you may know, this comet has fragmented, rather like Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 which hit Jupiter in 1994. There are currently dozens of fragments, in a huge range of sizes. The two largest fragments, "B" and "C", are easily visible for the next few weeks in small telescopes, and one or two of the others are in range of really big amateur scopes.

Last night I saw both of the large fragments in my small refractor (100mm, f/6 -- nice wide field views). Fragment "B" was a little easier to see -- I think it's more condensed, and so has a higher surface brightness. This was especially important with an almost-full Moon not far away! More details below...


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