Comet alert

If we did not have enough astronomical excitement from the upcoming solar eclipse, we now have a bright comet to deal with. Comet Pons/Brooks is just at naked eye visibility and should be easily visible with binoculars from a dark site with good visibility of the western horizon. Check out Spaceweather for more details and for photos. The chart below is for Balsam at around 8:30 PM. Look for very bright Jupiter and pan down and to the right. It will be only about 15 degrees above the horizon so find a high spot with no trees or hills to block the view. The helipad or golf course should be good.

If you are planning on traveling to the path of totality for the eclipse and the weather cooperates, you may be able to catch the comet near the eclipsed sun with binoculars during totality. Be very careful and do not look at the unfiltered sun other than during the 2-4 minutes of totality when the moon completely blocks the sun.

View from Balsam at 8:30 PM on April 4th.

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