I am happy to report that after eight separate attempts to find comet Mc Naught which were hampered by clouds I finally succeeded on tracking down this exciting comet this evening (Jan 9th). I packed my ETX 90mm with 40mm 1.25" (31X) eyepiece (FOV=2 degrees), 10X50mm binoculars, camera and tripod into a rucksack and walked several hundred metres to a location which on an elevated position providing me with a good SW horizon.

The sky was 97% clear with trans = 8/10. I set up my gear and watched the sun set while ignoring the strange looks I was getting from neighbours walking by and waited. Brilliant Venus emerged out of the twilight first then at 16.40 UT I spotted Mc Naught in very bright blue twilight well placed in the SW sky approx 18 degrees west of Venus. The comet was gorgeous!, I could easily see it with the naked eye including it's bright high surface brightness white dust tail pointing to the NW at a 45 degree angle.

Through the ETX the coma was a bright golden coloured very highly condensed object with sharp well defined edges not to different from a planetary disk. It measured + 2' in diameter. The long dust tail was visible for 15' and a vivid pearly white colour. In the 10X50's the tail was seen for 1 degree. This comet looks very healthy and bright and I would suspect it's best show is yet to come. With the naked eye it hung over the tower of Maghera police station and the security camera seemed to be pointed directly at the comet. A gorgeous object!

Mag -1.5 Dia 2' DC 9 Tail= 1 degree NW READ REPORT

Image: Fuji S5600 5.1MP, ISO 100, 10X optical zoom, 1/20th sec.

From a very excited Martin Mc Kenna (