C/2006 A1 (Pojmanski) – February 25, 2006

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Observation Notes

This observation of C/2006 A1 Pojmanski came at the end of an all-night observing session at Anderson Mesa. Because it was going to be fencing with the rising sun, I needed to catch it as close to the horizon as possible. This meant moving my scope when I realized it was going to come up behind a particularly expansive tree. With the western-most stars of Capricornus started peeking over the trees I began my search. It wasn’t hard to find at all. Particularly compared to comets 9P/Tempel and 2005 E2 McNaught.

I could see a fuzzy patch rising through the boughs of some distant trees. When it soared clear, it showed as a soft, beautifully glowing pearl. Its coma was bright, with a nicely condensed core. It appeared to be about 2′ across. Averted vision showed about a 20′ length of tail blowing off to the southwest. In addition to a bright, thin core, a broader, fainter fan overlapped it, and was about the same width as the coma. It took magnification nicely, and at 240X, I could see some asymmetry in the coma. The northwest side appeared sharper, with a bit of a spike on the east side. The pseudo-nucleus was not stellar at this magnification though, which could have something to do with poor seeing near the horizon. It showed up easily in 10×50 binoculars as a soft stellar object, and was just barely visible to the naked eye with approaching dawn beginning to interfere.

Subject C/2006 A1 Pojmanski
Classification Comet
Position* Capricornus
12:30 UT – [RA: 20:16:45 / Dec: -18:03:58]
13:00 UT – [RA: 20:16:47 / Dec: -18:00:58]
Size Coma: 2′ ; Tail: 20′
Brightness* ~5.3
Date/Time February 25, 2006 – 05:30-06:00 AM MST
(February 25, 2006 – 12:30-13:00 UT)
Observing Loc. Anderson Mesa, AZ
Instrument Orion SVP 6LT Reflector (150 mm dia./1200 mm F/L)
Eyepieces/Mag. 32 mm Sirius Plössl (37.5X); 10 mm Sirius Plössl + 2X Barlow (240X)
Conditions Clear, calm, 19°F
Seeing 3-4/10
Transparency Mag 5.5 NELM
*Sources Orion’s The Sky Software; Aerith.net