Catching Up With Comet Yi-SWAN

Article written: 14 Apr , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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Now that the Moon is out of the early evening sky, far northern observers are out in force hunting down Comet C/2009 Yi-SWAN… and it’s there! In 10X50 binoculars it appears like a very faint, small globular cluster, but definitely has the signature of a comet in a 4.5″ telescope. Surprisingly enough, it’s not very hard to find. Would you like a hand?

First use the rough locator chart that I’ve provided for you at the beginning of this article to get you in the right area. Don’t forget that Cassiopeia is circumpolar and you will need to orient the map according to its position at the time you view it. Rather than confuse you further – just remember as the days pass that Yi-SWAN’s trajectory will take it slowly towards the left hand side of the chart. Here is a close up look at where it will appear in a magnitude 8 filtered field of stars on the night of April 15.

Comet Yi-SWAN Locator Chart April 15

Comet Yi-SWAN Locator Chart April 15

At this point I personally have not observed any tail, nor has any of my co-observers. By using the de-focusing method, we estimate the Comet Yi-SWAN to be right at its 8.5 magnitude mark, totally diffuse and no sign of a bright nucleus at this time. We’d be interested in hearing your observations, too!

Best of luck…


4 Responses

  1. Jon Hanford says

    Here’s a link to a Sky & Telescope article on Comet Yi-SWAN with a real picture of the comet: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/resources/proamcollab/astroalert/42672257.html. As this body approaches, I expect to see many more pix of it at S&T, Astronomy, SpaceWeather.com and of course UT. Looking forward to some great images. Thanks for the update, Tammy.

  2. marcellus says

    Tomorrow night, Tammy. The Rochester Astronomy Club (MN) got together after our monthly meeting and went to a viewing area south of the city. Unfortunattely we didn’t see Comet Yi-SWAN.

    However, we saw a -6 fireball at 9:04:48 p.m. pass thru Canis Major. It was totally awesome. There will be a posting to the AMS Fireball page.

  3. marcellus says

    Tomorrow night, Tammy. The Rochester Astronomy Club (MN) got together after our monthly meeting and went to a viewing area south of the city. Unfortunately we didn’t see Comet Yi-SWAN.

    However, we saw a -6 fireball at 9:04:48 p.m. pass through Canis Major. It was totally awesome. There will be a posting to the AMS Fireball page.

  4. Member

    i am looking forward to hearing about marcellus getting the much coveted comet hunter silver! (and even more so to sharing my “gold” with you.)

    WOW! that bolide must have been something to see!! 8D

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