Viewing Report 9th January 2019 – IMT3 Observatory (Visual)

Viewing time period – 18:31 – 19:20

Well after moving house on the last day of November last year, I have finally unpacked enough boxes and have the house straight enough to find my rather large binoculars (100mm refractors) and set them up in the garden where the IMT3 will finally be built.

Tonight was really about testing out the visibility of the new site and making sure the large binos were working for the following days lecture at Basingstoke Astronomical Society, along with seeing if I could see the comet 46P/Wirtanen that my other friends were looking at.

Screenshot from SkySafari of Comet 46P/Wirtanen location

So it took me a while to find the red dot finder, strap that on with a plastic tie wrap from Alan Lorrain and then align it. Once done then it was much easier to find things. So the seeing was not great tonight and the site is clearly not as good as Sherborne St John, however I could easily make out the magnitude +3.3 star, Muscida in Ursa Major. The comet could not be seen visually with the naked eye, this was due to it being magnitude +10.9 as reported by SkySafari. Once I put my 100mm binoculars on it however after star hoping from the main star at the end of the saucepan, Dubhe, then I could just make out the comet there with Averted Vision (AV). With Direct Vision (DV) I could not see the comet at all.

To test the seeing I also referenced the double star HIP 40734 in Lynx (which is where the comet actually resided) and I could make that out with DV as it was magnitude +9.44 for the main component. Therefore I put my visual ability to see objects on this night at around mag +10. I will add further data to this as I progress my visual astronomy from this site with my binoculars, which are now nicknamed the BFB a bit like Elon Musks rocket the BFR, if you catch my drift ….