C/2007 F1 LONEOS


C/2007 F1 LONEOS


On the evening of Oct 26/27 2007 I decided to focus my attention on C/2007 F1 LONEOS which is due to vanish from UK skies on Oct 27th. I have not seen the comet for some time and despite several evenings of unsuccessful attempts due to poor sky conditions I had considered the comet gone. This evening while conducting a vertical search through the western twilight with a 8.5" F/7 reflector with 32mm I swept up LONEOS at 19.34 BST. The coma was of moderate size and well condensed, circular in shape, grey-white in colour with bright disk-like central condensation. The coma was viewed through gaps between distant tree branches which shared the telescopic field. What caught my attention was the wonderful colourless straight Ion tail extending to the E of N for a minimum distance of 2 degrees although I suspected it to be much longer!. I followed the tail across the sky with the telescope and could see many streamers. The tail was very bright and looked like a beam of light.

After several minutes the coma set leaving a wonderful search light beam extending up from the tree tops!. Also seen in 10x50 binos. This is a very beautiful comet and one which I think is currently under observed by many people which is a shame. I had LONEOS in view for 9 minutes before it set but before it did I glanced to the NE sky and seen 17P/ Holmes with the naked eye - two bright comets visible at the same time!.

Mag: 5.0 Dia: 3' D.C:7 Tail: + 2 degrees. Original sketch above.