Comet 19-19


C/2002 C1 Ikeya - Zhang on March 20th 2002 at 20.48 LT as seen through the 10X50mm binoculars. The 6 day old waxing crescent moon was high in the SW which drowned out the fainter secrets of the comet however I could still see a tail 7 degrees long which had a 'forked' appearance due to the possible detection of the fainter straight blue ion tail at a slight angle from the main dust tail.

The dust and ion tails were superimposed on one another at the time. With binoculars or the naked eye the comet was a pearly white colour however with the light grasp of a telescope one could see the tell tale blue signature of the more subtle and dynamic ion/gas/plasma tail. On March 3rd astrophotographers imaged a rare disconnection event within the ion tail caused by changes in the solar wind. Comet tails are the 'wind socks' of the solar system and hence observations and CCD images are of great importance to professional astronomers within this field.