Comet 26-26


C/2004 Q2 Machholz on December 20/21st 2004 from 20.01 - 04.00 LT using 10X50mm Binoculars. This was an eight hour observing session completely devoted to this comet. Machholz tonight was a magnitude 4 object in Eridanus and despite the presence of a waxing gibbous moon high in the south within Pisces I could see the comet quite easily with the naked eye. The night was cold, frosty however the transparency was excellent. Conor and I observed this comet from my back garden and we could easily see twin blue ghostly tails then we walked to a darker location with a good horizon where we watched the comet set behind the leafless tree branches in the SW.

After moonset the sky was thrust into darkness revealing one of the best quality skies I have seen, I felt I knew the naked eye stars very well however on this night there where many new stars in Cepheus that I had never seen before in my life without optical aid. The Milky Way in the west was awesome and I could glimpse stars at magnitude 7 with the naked eye. Conor and I were treated to a large outburst of meteor activity which was the perfect end to an already successful and unforgettable night.