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Gallery: Hartley 2

Observation made by Scott Paisley

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Comments: [Originally posted to the NOVAC listserve and reprinted here w/ permission.]

I've been attempting to locate Hartley 2 from my backyard that last few nights (as in the last 8-9 days) with zero success. I'm thinking that my sky in Ashburn, VA, is just too darn light polluted. I should have tried to hunt it down at the Bluemont Winery when I was out there during the new moon. Drat. At home with my pair of 20x Celestron binocs, I can locate the Double Cluster and just to test to see if I lost my mind, I can also locate M31. I just wanted to see if I could see these bright objects from my backyard, and yeah, they are easily there. So I've been able to plug in some coords into my LX200 goto scope (I used the ones that are posted for Stellarium, and my LX200 will scan to that part of the sky). BTW, if I use JPL's coords, I get a wrong epoch date I think, cause it says that the comet doesn't rise till the morning, but the Stellarium coords "appear" to point to the right part of the sky, I think... Anyway, using a 34mm eyepiece, 26 and even a 19mm eyepiece on my 8" scope, I have not been able to locate Hartley 2. So I say to myself, "Self, perhaps we are going about this all wrong. Maybe using the published star charts and Stellarium, we can find it that way."
So I use the charts and notice that NGC 1545 is nearby the comet last night. Not next to, but close. So I slew over to that and start scanning. Nothing. I spent a good 45 minutes looking around that area. So this morning I get up around 5:45 and head to the back yard. It's dark. Orion is looking at me. Sirius starts barking and I say, "hush dog!" ... Oh wait, that was my dog. Anyway. The charts and Stellarium tell me the comet is right about 1/2 way between Capella and Mirphak. That can't be too hard I say... I start scanning with my 8x42 binocs. FAIL. I grab a chair, and brace my arms on my deck railing. I start scanning with my 20x binocs. Nothing. Wait... Something is behind me... Something ghostly... I turn to look and "GAH" Oh ... "Good morning David." My 9 year old has snuck up on me. Who needs coffee when you can get a nice wakeup like that. He asks, "Whatcha doing Dad?" I say... "Comet hunting" Now I know why they call it comet hunting. "Hey David, do you want to see the Orion Nebula?" It was a good morning, but no comet. I may head out to CHR tonight, or somewhere. I love to get my second comet notch on my belt. (Yeah, the first was Halley, and it found me.) So if any of you are heading out to comet hunt tonight, I'd love some pointers. I'm hoping that I've been looking in the right places, but either
(A) Don't know what I'm looking at/for or
(B) Can't succeed in my light polluted sky, or
(C) it's not where I think it is.
Thanks for listening to my morning ramble. :)-Scott
Image Date/Time: 2010-10-16
Observing Site: Ashburn, VA

Table 1: Data about observation.

Updated: 30-Jul-2013