144P/Kushida – JAN 2 – 3, 2009

Sketch of comet 144P/Kushida

Sketch of comet 144P/Kushida

Move mouse over sketch above to view labels and different positions.
Click image for larger version.

Observation Notes:

Comet 144P/Kushida is riding high in Taurus now, but the moon is sneaking up on it. I observed it over the last couple nights and found it sliding past a linear arrangement of four stars. It appeared as a soft, evenly round disc with a degree of condensation of about 3. On Thursday night Jan 1/2, it was difficult to analyze for symmetry, since the core was resting within a few arc seconds of a 13th magnitude star. At that time, its diameter appeared to be about 3 to 4 arc minutes. I observed it again 2 hours and 15 minutes later that night and noticed eastward movement of about 1.5 arc minutes.

On Friday night, Jan 2/3, it had moved about 15 arc minutes to the east-southeast. The moon was brighter, and the coma appeared a bit smaller as a result. The coma still appeared symmetrical. It should still be fluorescing at 8th or 9th magnitude toward the end of the month as the moon swings back out of the way. Give it a look if you have the opportunity.

Subject 144P/Kushida
Classification Comet
Position* JAN 02, 2009 04:45 UT – Taurus: [RA: 03:30:12.4 / Dec: +15:47:52]
JAN 03, 2009 06:00 UT – Taurus: [RA: 03:31:17.2 / Dec: +15:46:03]
Size Coma: 3 – 4 arc minute diameter
Degree of Condensation: 3
Brightness* ~ 8.8 vMag
Date/Time JAN 01, 2009, 9:45 PM – JAN 02, 2009, 8:15 PM MST
(JAN 2, 2009, 04:45 – JAN 3, 2009, 03:15 UT)
Observing Loc. Flagstaff, AZ – Home
Instrument Orion SkyQuest XT8 Dobsonian
Eyepieces/Mag. Pentax XW 10 (120X)
Conditions Clear, calm
Seeing 5/10 Pickering
Transparency ~Mag 5.8 NELM
*Sources Aerith.net; Starry Night Pro Plus 5.8

5 Replies to “144P/Kushida – JAN 2 – 3, 2009”

  1. It Was a nice surprise to see that you had produced an excellent sketch of 144P/Kushida. I’m actually planning to try and observe this tonight (weather permitting)so finger crossed.

  2. Hi Jeremy. The weather finally cleared up last night. Extremely cold with crisp clear skies but the glare form the Moon really impinged on my observation. I think I could just make out the faint green/blue smudge of the comet using averted vision but can’t be 100% sure. For the moment Kushida remains elusive.

  3. Jeremy, where can I find a up to date finder chart for this comet? There was one on Heavens Above and I have surveyed the area to no avail. My seeing conditions from my yard in Sparks Nv are about mag 5.3 . I just discovered your site – you are one awesome astronomer! I am using a 10″f4 telescope. Thanks!

  4. Hi Richard, thank you! This comet appears to be moving through the Hyades in Taurus right now. A couple pages you can check for finder charts are:
    Scroll to the comet you are interested in & click the Finder link.
    Mag 5.4 skies should allow you to view this one. Check those finder pages and see if you can get in the right star field. At first glance, it will likely appear as a soft, subtle brightening. I hope that works and you get a chance to observe it!

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