The overcast seems to be holding off so around 19:00 I put the Antares 22 X 100s out on the mount and started looking for C/2004 Machholz. The comet is now at magnitude 6.1 and I was unsuccessful in finding it last night. It’s down to 24°F and calm. And the moon is still down. But I can’t locate it.
Ducking into the house I print out a current star chart. But with the chart I’m still not successful. So into the house I go once more, this time bringing out the observing chair and a more detailed chart for star-hopping.
At 19:20 I’ve finally sighted Machholz. It’s dimmed waaaay down from its former brightness. This is probably my last sighting. The comet’s coma is only about 25” in diameter, with a short very dim broad tail toward the south. No nucleus is visible.
Since I’ve got the binocs out and the sky is clear I figure to spend a few minutes checking out the major targets. M42 shows the eagle shape very clearly. Sirius is blindingly bright but there’s no hope of splitting it with binocs. M45 has previously showed nebulosity, but I see none tonight. Saturn’s ring is visible. And the Double Cluster is showing hundreds of stars. I haven’t figured out how far in magnitude these giant binocs will go, but they do a pretty good job.
That’s it for tonight. The overcast has held off for longer than I thought it would, and the sky is still clear. Almost wish I’d set the scope out. But the satellite shows the clouds to have already reached the south coast, and I’m sure we’ll be overcast by 20:00. It was, once again, a binocular night.