Astronomy Cast

Astronomy Cast takes a fact based journey through the cosmos as it offers listeners weekly discussions on astronomical topics ranging from planets to cosmology.

Comet C/2009 K5 (McNaught)

April 17 was a beautiful day with absolutely no clouds. The daytime sky was blue maybe a little haze was noticeable but not realy sure if that was caused by the volcanic ash coming from islandic volcano Eyjafjallajoküll.

c2009k5_c14_100417_thumbAfter sunset the crescent Moon and Venus were a fine sight to see. The first half of the night was dedicated to follow-up work of NEOS K10F81A, K10G07S, K10G24A, K10G30H. For a closer at 3 am I decided to take a peak on Comet McNaught. With a brightness of 9 mag it was moving fast through the rich starfields of the milkyway. A single 30 second exposure showed a 5' large coma and a approx. 9' long tail in PA 120°. So McNaught is heading now to its perihel on April 30. For an animation showing the movement between the stars from 01:03 - 1:26 UT click here. ( 4 MB large)