C/2006 P1 (Mc Naught)

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Discovered by Robert H. McNaught from Siding Spring on August, 7 2006.

The latest IAU telegrams or the latest CBET's. IAUC Astronomical Headlines.

Minor planet center's orbital elements and Ephemeris, the comet on Seiichi Yoshida's Homepage,
Light curves on Cometas Obs, JPL Small body database 

Looking back....  one day after perihelion (=2007 Jan. 12.7987UT), the closest approach to the sun

C/2006 P1 (McNaught) © by Bernhard Häusler, Germany

Daylight comet C/2006 P1 (McNaught) on January,13 2007, 16:05:33UT, taken on the Feldberg mountain, Germany, 1440m
© by Bernhard Häusler, Germany,    -6 mag, coma: 45", tail: 9' in PA49
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, lens: 200mm, exposure: 1/125sec. f-6.3, ISO100, picture processing: Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC

Situation of the exposure on the sky: comet Alt: +03°20'56", sun Alt -01°39.5', distance to sun: 5°37'26" in PA243.45

Story of the observation:

After studying the actual weather satellite images I pulled myself and decided to head for southern regions along the German Highway A81.
Leaving Stuttgart behind in the afternoon of
January 13 2007 the clouds dissolved and uncovered a glassy sky.
The sun and the deep blue sky seduced me to stay, but my old comet heart whispered in my ears: go on! 

Let's go whole hog, I thought by myself and decided to stop finally at the Feldberg Mountain in the Black Forest, 1450 meters above sea level.
Around 3:30 PM I finitely found the street to the mountain and reached the base camp, the Feldbergerhof.
Though the steel-blue sky lets hope for the best and so I climbed on foot the mountain, jam-packed with binoculars, foto equipment and tripod.
I skated over the cable pulley (because I had to scout the way for the nightly return walk) and shined up blowing the remaining 175 meters to the summit.
My eyes and my heart reaped the benefits immediately - an unbeatable panorama over South Germany, France and the Alps.
The Swiss Matterhorn greeted from afar and the valleys were lying in the mist and were leaving the stars to the winners.

The unvarnished truth of the automatic digital camera pushed me to study the handbook: manually fokus and exposure times, diaphragm and so on.
Finitely fit for the comet hunting I tried out some exposures and discovered the comet in the viewfinder at 4:45 PM CET, a quarter of an hour before sun set.
Of course the image was enhanced by the camera and I couldn't see the comet with the naked eye while the sun was in pie.
Because of the risk to go blind I left the binoculars beside and killed the time before sun set with taking photos.
Slowly but steady some snoopy tourists of the region joined company with me and from that moments on I shared the comet hunting with totally enthused guys.

The comet stands 5°37'  over the sun, something shifted east. After sun set I finitely could use my binoculars (20x80mm) and I spied the comet at once.
A wonderful symmetric tail faned out north-east and moved puffy away from a dense comet core. Never in my life I saw a comet with the naked eye at once after sun set, not even Hale-Bopp.
 Now everybody around me could see the comet, with or without the binoculars, how it pushed against the reddish mist.
It needed around half an hour to cross the horizon and we enjoyed every minute of the natural spectacle. The final was an unexpected surprise for me.
 In the last seconds before its disappearing behind the razor blade horizon, the comet changed its brightness counterattacked and left the impression of a second sun set in my mind.
 It touchstoned flaring the deepest mist layers and warped its shape and brightness like a kaleidoscope.
After the set of the comet's head the tail raised a short time alone over the horizon and left back all happy: a comet hunting moment for lifetime.

Text and all images by (C) Bernhard Haeusler, Germany

  .mp4 Video

GIF video sequence of comet McNaught on January,13 2007 from 5:30 to 5:37 pm CET (16:30 - 16:37 UT)

Canon EOS 350D and 200 mm tele lens
13 exposures with 1/125 - 1/60 sec., f-5.6, ISO400

Observation location was on the Feldberg mountain close to the observation tower, 1445 m above sea level

Some impressions of the afternoon:

Location of the observation, in the background the Alps in about 120 km distance (74 miles)

Summit region with funicular and the Feldberg observation tower

Stone monument on the Feldberg summit

Direction to heartland Germany (north)

Feldberg tower

The direction to France (west)

The Matterhorn mountain in Swiss (south) in 205 km (127 miles) distance (summit in the center), one of the highest summits in Europe

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Copyright: The author of NEO Planner and all sites of this web is Bernhard Haeusler, Dettelbach, Germany, all rights reserved