Comet W1 Boattini Now Visible For Northern Skies

I wanted to see it myself before I said anything – but now it’s confirmed. Comet W1 Boattini is now visible in the northern hemisphere! So what if you have to get up before dawn? While its overall brightness is good enough to be seen with the unaided eye, I needed a lot of help, and maybe you’d like some, too?

Make no mistake. Fresh from its trip around the Sun and still holding a respectable 5.5 magnitude puts Comet W1 Boattini right in the ballpark of being visible without optical aid, but its size makes it invisible against dawn’s glow. But don’t be discouraged. If you have a decent southeastern skyline, you can catch Boattini with even small binoculars!

your horizonLet the one thing you can’t miss in the sky by your guide – the Pleiades. The view you see here is roughly what your horizon will look like before dawn. Although your own local time will vary a bit, that’s about 4:30 – 5:00 a.m. here. Take your binoculars out with you and begin scanning along the horizon for the Pleiades. Once you find them, locate Alpha Ceti. How can you be sure? It’s easy. Menkar is an optical double. Now begin looking with Menkar to the right of your field of view and scan slowly towards the Pleiades. Comet W1 Boattini will pop out and look like a small, unresolved globular cluster! It’s not big, and it doesn’t have a tail – but it sure is sweet.

Boattini rough field locatorIf you’re good with sky charts, use this to help aid you. This is the rough track that Boattini will be following for the next few weeks – but don’t wait around to find it. In just a few days the Moon will also begin to interfere with the morning darkness and your chances of easily spotting the comet are going to become less. Once you locate it in binoculars, it’s easy to pick it up again in an optical finder on a telescope and take a closer look.

Good luck!

Comet W1 Boattini - Guilherme

Many thanks to Joe Brimacombe and Guilherme Venere for the W1 Boattini images!

21 Replies to “Comet W1 Boattini Now Visible For Northern Skies”

  1. “I wanted to see it myself before I said anything -”

    That’s pretty selfish of you. Exactly the trait the Annukai will need from their middle managers when thinning the herd.

    You have a future.

  2. LOL! Well, I’m not familiar with what the heck an Annukai is – but I’m also not the sort of astronomer who’ll send you out chasing after something unless I know for a fact that it can be seen and done with the equipment I suggest.

    I don’t think that makes me selfish – just realistic. 😉

  3. Laktam — just for the record, Tammy wasn’t being selfish. Au contraire: otherwise, she’d have gotten readers of this blog to go out there to find *nothing*, to be thoroughly disappointed by that. Authors owe something to their readers; Tammy is paying her debts by being careful not to misinform people.

  4. I rather agree with tammy than with falmastro.

    Falmastro, U dont need to be rude calling them jerks. They’re pretty much unhappy themselves! U don’t need to point that out!

    Pedro

  5. Tammy,

    could U please let me know at what time should I expect to watch better this comet, here in Europe? Portugal?

    Is it by midnight?

    Thx
    Pedro

  6. Greetings, Pedro!

    Start about 4:30 local time. You’re roughly the same latitude north as where I am, so look for the Pleiades rising first to the east. Once you see them, it’s time to start scanning for the comet!

    Use the color horizon depiction you see above to help get you in the right place. It shows the “clump” of the Pleiades and Alpha Ceti. Now go to the rough finder chart where you’ll also see alpha marked. Look for the comet within the red circle and note that over the next week or so that it will move the direction the blue arrow points right about on that same track.

    There are a few more nights until full moon, so now is a good time to look. Once the moon gets east during the night after full, it’s going to be very hard to see since the comet will also begin to fade.

    Good luck to you!!

    ~Tammy

  7. Hi,

    We had as astronomy meeting in Brasil early this month, and were able to follow Boattini for 3 days, watching it loose it’s ion tail just to see it reappear the next day. Not sure how to submit pictures to your site, but anyone can see them on my website (click on my name)

    Cheers,

    Guilherme

  8. “Use the color horizon depiction you see above to help get you in the right place. It shows the “clump” of the Pleiades and Alpha Ceti. Now go to the rough finder chart where you’ll also see alpha marked. Look for the comet within the red circle and note that over the next week or so that it will move the direction the blue arrow points right about on that same track.”

    err, I see no images, just text?

  9. For Benjamin: this is the link to the horizon chart. The Pleiades are the grouping of stars marked with the greek letter “n” in the constellation of Taurus. To lower right in the image you will see the constellation of Cetus and alpha is marked with the greek letter “a”. Now, compare what you see with the rough finder chart located here. I included both charts because it isn’t always easy to understand orientation when a constellation is first rising from a black and white locator chart.

    Yael? Roughly 40N 82E. That translates north central Ohio about 130km south of the Great Lakes. And I do appreciate your comments. It is one thing to read on an astronomy site that such and such is “supposed” to be visible in a certain time and place – and another to be able to tell readers “I’ve seen it with my own eyes and you can, too!”.

    Guilherme? Let’s see what I can do… 😉

  10. As a city dweller, I don’t think I’ll be able to get out of town to get a good look for it.

    Damn.

  11. Hi, I’m always keen to grasp the correct pronunciations of names, and I was wondering about the correct pronunciation of “Boattini”. Is it pronounced “Bo-a-teenie” or “Bo-teenie”?

    Many thanks,

    Jeff.

  12. Hi Tammy, many thanks for your reply. That ‘s the way I’ve been pronouncing it, but it’s good to have someone else’s opinion.

    Jeff.

  13. Not that I’m impressed a lot, but this is a lot more than I expected for when I found a link on Furl telling that the info here is awesome. Thanks.

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