Sighting: Comet Machholz

At the convenient local observatory, located just outside the back door, I just spotted a comet I read about on an email list a couple days ago. It’s Comet Machholz, discovered by an amateur astronomer of that name in the Sierra Nevada last August. If you’ve got very sharp eyes or a very dark sky, you can see it (a little bit to the south and west of the Pleiades tonight and moving toward the north night by night) unaided. The sky is just a little too bright here and my eyes too fuzzy to make it a naked-eye event for me, though Tom managed to pick it out once he’d seen it through the binoculars.

I think it’s the fifth comet I’ve seen: West (1973), Halley (1986), Hyakutake (1996), Hale-Bopp (1997), and Machholz. Get out there. Be prepared to say “wow!” Or “what is that thing?” Or “I think I see something.”

One Reply to “Sighting: Comet Machholz”

  1. I don’t remember Halley; I do remember Hale-Bopp — and not just for the sneakers. Your post reignited my wish to witness more celestial events, just as did local author Andrew Sean Greer’s “The Path of Ordinary Planets.” I’ve read his second novel, “The Confessions of Max Tivoli,” twice. They are both lovely portrayals of the struggle of the self to be the self without being selfish.

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