C/2006 VZ13 LINEAR




Last night (July 14-15th) I made my 3rd observation of C/2006 VZ13 LINEAR. It was a beautiful clear night however there was faint high level cloud at the zenith which could only be seen through the telescope which made detection of the comet extremely difficult. This was the 3rd night of comet observing in a light July frost! The telrad and OTA was smeared in the stuff. There was a beautiful complex NLC display in view but I had to tare my eyes away from it to concentrate on the comet which I swept up at 01.05 BST. It was located high in the western sky within Bootes not far from the naked eye stars Alkaid and Alcor/Mizar in Uma. The comet at a first glance was a pastel grey colour however with relaxed direct vision I could see a subtle green tone to its ghostly form. The coma was large at 8' across and perhaps larger with a soft white central condensation at the centre of the circular coma which sported mildy diffuse edges so I rated it unchanged at D.C: 4. I seen no tail or jets due to the poor trans which was 6/10. For the same reason I couldn't see it in the 10X50s. The comet was obscured by cloud at 01.15 BST. This was followed by an extremely dense blanket of fog which was at its most deadly out in the countryside where it obscured country roads and reduced visibility to a very dangerous level. Seen two telescopic satellites pass through the FOV with the comet. I agree with the latest magnitude estimates - It looks to be around mag + 7.5

8.5" F/7 dobsonian reflector with 32mm 1.25" eyepiece yielding a field of almost 1 degree. Tonight LINEAR was at its closet to Earth at 0.58 AU or about 50 million miles making it a little bit more than 1/2 the distance between the Earth and Sun. Glad to have seen it on closest approach. Looking forward to watching what it does as it dives toward perihelion!