It’s a new week, which means a new featured cosmic sight. This week’s feature: somewhat of a rarity to the sky, a comet, specifically Comet Garradd. Yes, while the comet has been up in the sky for quite some time now, shining away at around magnitude 8, making it an easy target for telescopes, this week, it will be set against some very easy to navigate regions of the sky, making for no better time than the present to take a look.
Last week, Garradd passed through the constellation of Saggita the arrow, which lies in the impossible to miss asterism that is the Summer Triangle. On Friday, the comet passed very near the globular cluster M71. Needless to say, the photos were quite amazing. This week, the comet is still going to be very near Saggita and the famous Coathanger Cluster, too. Oh, yes, on Friday, September 2, Garradd will pass right through the Coathanger, providing another wonderful photo-op for any astrophotographers.
Right now, on Sunday, August 28, the Comet is right on the imaginary shaft of the arrow that is the constellation Saggita. As the week progresses, the comet will move up from Saggita, towards the Coathanger cluster, coming to rest right in the Coathanger’s hook on Friday. From that point, it will continue to climb higher in the sky.
However, while the comet will not be going away any time soon, there is no better time than the present to go look for it considering that it will be placed between two well-known cosmic star patterns for all of this week.
For anyone not owning a telescope, binoculars from a dark sky also work well in sweeping up the comet, especially if the binoculars are mounted onto something to prevent hand shake. In binoculars, or even a large finder scope, the comet will look like a tiny, white fuzzball, giving a perfect illustration of French astronomer Charles Messier ‘s frustration of time lost on a whole host of annoying objects that weren’t comets.
Lastly, the weather is something to be considered. Astronomy always a weather-allowing pursuit, be sure to keep an eye on the Cleveland weather forecast and, for hour-by-hour cloud predictions, the Cleveland Clear Sky Clock. Live somewhere else? Find a clock and see if it will be clear near you.
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National Space News Examiner
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For more Cleveland astro news:
Featured sight for week of 8/14: a morning walk with the Dog Star
Two planets to disappear same day
NASA to Cleveland residents: look for meteorites
Local meteorite fall story goes national
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