Comets That Can Be Seen

Not too long ago, people used to think that comets were a bad omen. They took it as a symbol for something bad that was going to happen, such as a plague, wars, or other undesirable events. People were very ignorant about how and why objects were presented in the sky. Therefore, comets were a sign of great disturbance to them. Nowadays, we have the knowledge that comets are a small Solar System body, made up of nothing but clumps of ice and dust that travel to the center of the Solar System sporadically, in a predicted manner. Some comets come back more than once. When close to the Sun, its heat makes comets begin to evaporate. What we can see from Earth are the long tails that are formed from jets of gas and dust. At times, these tails can be millions of miles long.

If you are interested in catching a glimpse of a new comet, you may do so using a wide-field telescope (good for capturing pictures) or with binoculars. It is quite rare to find comets that are visible to the naked eye. However, several times a year you can see comets with an amateur-type telescope. There are some returning and new comets that can possibly be seen from Earth and in the near future. Not all comets are visible from anywhere on Earth. It depends highly on your location. If you are looking to observe some comets soon, here is a list of upcoming comets that will be visible in August 2011. (To see full list and other comets visit http://cometchasing.skyhound.com)

1. 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakov: - a morning comet that can be seen with binoculars.
Visibility 8/13: Low in southern sky during morning around 4:50 am (latitude: equator).
High in moonlight around 4:10 (latitude: 30°S)
8/20: Low in eastern sky 5:20 am (latitude: 30°S)

2. C/2009 P1 (Gerradd): – evening comet, visible with binoculars.
8/13: High in moonlight 11:00, 11:10, 11:10, 11:20 pm at latitudes of 55°N, 40°N, Equator, 30°S respectively.
For visibility of 8/20 and 8/27 see website.

3. C/2010 X1 (Elenin): – evening comet, visible with small telescopes
8/13: High in western sky during evening twilight 7 pm (latitude: equator)
High in western sky during evening twilight 6:40 pm (latitude 30°S)
For visibility of 8/20 and 8/27 see website.

4. C/2011 M1 (Linear): A far-northern morning comet visible in an 8-inch telescope
8/13: High during morning twilight 2:20 am (lat: 55° N)
High in northern sky, morning twilight 3:50 am (lat: 40°N)
For visibility of 8/20 and 8/27 see website.

5. C/2010 G2 (Hill): A northern hemisphere morning comet visible in a 14-inch telescopev
8/13: High during morning twilight 2:20 am (lat: 55° N)
High in northern sky, morning twilight 3:50 am (lat: 40°N)
For visibility of 8/20 and 8/27 see website.

6. 213P/Van Ness: A morning comet visible in very large telescopes
8/13: High during morning twilight 2 am (lat: 55°N)
High in moonlight at 2 am (lat: 40°N)
High in moonlight 1:50 (lat: equator)
High in moonlight 1:50 (lat: 30°S)
For visibility of 8/20 and 8/27 see website.





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