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Thread: Watch the skies for 'spectacular' comet

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Watch the skies for 'spectacular' comet

    If you've got a clear view to the south west...

    Twilight will be a magical time this week as a new comet is expected to arrive and dazzle South African star gazers.

    Reported to be the brightest comet visible from Earth in the past 30 years, Comet McNaught sparkled its way across the northern hemisphere last week.

    "It will remain a spectacular comet for weeks, perhaps months, in the southern hemisphere," Nasa astronomer Tony Phillips told The Associated Press. "It could emerge as the brightest comet in recorded history."

    Dr Claire Flanagan, director of the Johannesburg Planetarium, said Southern African sky watchers should get a glimpse of Comet McNaught from Monday. The long, cloud-shaped formation will be visible in the early-evening sky for at least a week.

    "To see the comet, all you need is a clear view to the west. Go out and start looking as the sun sets. The comet will look like an elongated cloud pointing upwards and to the left.

    "About an hour after sunset, the comet will have disappeared below the horizon, but it will reappear the next evening, a little further to the left [south]."

    McNaught will be very low, just above the horizon to the south-west. It will get fainter and a little higher as the week goes by, said Flanagan.
    from M&G here
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    Silver Member Candy Bouwer's Avatar
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    Comet McNaught to dazzle SA skies

    January 15 2007 at 09:28AM

    Comet McNaught is expected to dazzle star gazers from today.

    Reported to be the brightest comet visible from Earth in the past 30 years, McNaught sparkled its way across the northern hemisphere last week. "It will remain a spectacular comet for weeks, perhaps months, in the southern hemisphere," according to Nasa astronomer Tony Phillips.

    Dr Claire Flanagan, director of the Johannesburg Planetarium, said the long, cloud-shaped formation would be visible in the western sky in the early evening for at least a week. - Sapa
    I'm surprised the doom and gloom Prophets haven't been spouting yet....this is a usual follow on when we are visited by any celestial bodies...East Coast Radio Jocks were also speculating about this phenomena this morning!
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Celestial events must be almost as good as test cricket at attracting clouds in Durban

    I guess I won't be seeing possibly "the brightest comet in recorded history" tonight.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Silver Member Candy Bouwer's Avatar
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    Comet-watchers' view

    Well at least sombody has seen it over SA skies.
    Weather clouds Cape comet-watchers' view

    January 16 2007 at 03:06PM

    Local comet watchers will be out again tonight searching for Comet McNaught after last night's viewing - expected to be the best of the week - was dashed by cloud and drizzle in most areas of the Peninsula.

    But some lucky Sea Point watchers were rewarded by a short break in the weather. One of them was Bub Evans, who said the comet had been "clearly visible for about 10 minutes before it went behind the clouds again".

    "Watching through binoculars, it was brilliant!" she said.

    Tonight's viewing should be uninterrupted: the Cape Town weather office's forecast at 5am was "party cloudy, becoming fine, no rain".

    The comet is named after Australian astronomer R H McNaught, who observed it for the first time through a telescope at Siding Spring, Australia, on August 7 last year.

    It should still be visible in the local sky until Friday, although it is expected to fade each night.

    Dave Laney of the SA Astronomical Observatory explained that the comet was very close to the sun and set early, so would only be visible for a short period after sunset from a spot with a totally unobstructed western horizon.

    o This article was originally published on page 6 of Cape Argus on January 16, 2007
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    On current form my only chance is to catch an evening flight somewhere and see it from the window of a plane

    Did those doomsayers say anything about endless cloudy evenings?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    We managed to see the comet last week Saturday. It wasn't too bright any more by then (judging by other's account and photos), but still impressive.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Well. There you go. I finally got to see the comet this evening. I believe past its prime, but spectacular nontheless.

    And all I had to do was go to Capetown and get on top of some hilly pass between Tokai and Fishoek. And I was far from alone. Lots of cars parked on the side of the road with people enjoying the show.

    Meantime, back in Durban, I believe it's still cloudy....
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Such a problem solver you are
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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Meantime, back in Durban, I believe it's still cloudy....
    I think I would have been quite happy with some clouds today...38ºC in the shade is just no fun, and certainly doesn't help me to be productive.
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