Quickie check on Machholz – 17 Jan 05
Its 18° F with a bit of a breeze, but it feels much colder tonight. The sky is relatively clear with fast drifting clouds covering about 30%. I just want to check out Comet C/2004 Q2 Machholz and see how it’s progressing. So I grabbed my coat hat & gloves and my 7 X 50 binocs and away we go…..
19:40 hrs. Machholz is at the zenith tonight. There’s a ½ moon nearby, but the air is so dry that the sky remains dark. Ahhh. There it is – working W from Capella to Mirfak, and then just a bit S from Mirfak in line with another nearby bright star. Now that I’ve got it located I duck inside and grab the 15 X 70 Oberwerk binocs. With the Oberwerks I can confirm that Machholz now has a short broad tail extending through 90° from S to W.
According to Guide 8 the magnitude is down from 4.1 to 4.3, so perhaps now is the optimum time to view this comet, before it begins to dim and drop toward the horizon.