Comet McNaught C/2009 R1 and NGC891

June 29, 2010

Comet McNaught_R1_NGC891

Photographer: John Chumack; John’s Website
Summary Author: John Chumack; Jim Foster

The photo above features Comet McNaught C/2009 R1 as observed from Yellow Springs, Ohio on June 8 at 4:32 a.m. It’s shown here passing by the spiral galaxy NGC891 (at center) in Andromeda. Its name may sound familiar, but this is this comet’s first time through the solar system -- it’s a fresh comet. In 2007, Comet McNaught blazed passed Earth; however, this was a different comet, though named for the same observer who discovered McNaught C/2009.
I had little time to capture McNaught C/2009 R1 since dawn was rapidly approaching. This view is very low in the northeastern sky, about 15 to 20 degrees above the horizon. Comet McNaught could be glimpsed with the naked eye from a dark location, but with binoculars it was easily visible – even the tail could be seen. I estimated it to have a magnitude of approximately 6.5. The brightness of the Moon will cause sighting problems the next several mornings; though, you may be able to spot it toward dawn in the northeastern sky -- but not from urban or suburban locations. To see other photos – click on related links below.

Photo details: Modified Canon Rebel camera; XSi and Astronomics CLS filters; 5 inch Vixen Newtonian Astrograph; ISO 400; 15 minute exposure. It was processed so you can still see the comet’s core.