We are getting a lot of requests for comet viewing because “the Green Comet” has been in the news so much.
Sadly, despite the hype, it is a very tricky object to spot without binoculars or a telescope – especially locally because of the light pollution in the area (see the Dark Skies Advice for what you can do to help reduce local light pollution). The comet is very large in the sky, which also makes it low surface brightness (i.e. faint). I have had people reach out really disappointed that they tried and failed to see it, which makes me sad. I hope they don’t get discouraged from stargazing – the “normal” stars are beautiful too.
Overall it’s a tricky object for us from even our campus telescopes, both because of the light pollution (both wider area, and on campus lighting, especially the field lights when they are on), but also the direction it is in puts it mostly behind a large tree to the north of the observatory.
However on the night of January 24th, students Darshan Patel ’23 and Xingyun Yang ’24, and visiting professor of astronomy and physics Islam Khan obtained the below image of the comet using our 16″ telescope and its CCD. Darshan processed the three sets of images they took to produce the colour images below. I believe this image was taken by looking very carefully through the branches of a tree!
We will try to observe it if it’s clear on Feb 10th (our next Public Observing Session), but make no promises. Our events run whatever the weather (with some exceptions for extreme weather events), but stargazing (or comet spotting) is only possible on clear nights. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain the link to reserve your free ticket if you would like to join us.