Comet Machholz and Pleiades Cluster

January 27, 2005

2005-01-05_18h44m-2 copy

Provided by: Pete Lawrence
Summary authors & editors: Pete Lawrence

The photo above of Comet Macholz, near the Pleiades star cluster, was taken from Selsey, West Sussex, United Kingdom on January 5. Comets aren't often obliging to would be observers. Their orbital characteristics and activity profiles often mean that they appear in the twilight world around dusk and dawn. In addition, a bright comet is something of a rarity.

Comet Machholz (C/2004 Q2) is not stunningly bright, however, from a dark sky location, it's a fairly easy naked eye object. In addition, in early and mid January it was well placed for Northern Hemisphere observers -- close to the easy to find Pleiades star cluster. Currently, it's near the Double Cluster in the Perseus constellation. If you've never seen a comet before, this is a good time to try. If you live where light pollution is a problem, binoculars will help.

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