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Comet Machholz (C/2004 Q2), December 15th, 2004

Original drawing made using white pencil on black paper:
Same drawing on a white background:

Comet Machholz (C/2004 Q2), December 15th, 2004, 3:35 - 4:40 UT, seeing 5, transparency 5.5.

TMB Optical 105mm f/6.2 refractor on alt-az mount. Magnification 68x - 81x, field of view approximately 1.5 degrees. North is at the top in this sketch, west is to the left.

The comet had a relatively bright outer coma and smaller inner coma. The pseudo-nucleus appeared stellar. The outer coma, inner coma and pseudo-nucleus appeared light green in color.

The comet's dust tail, made up mostly of small pieces of rock and carbon, appeared feathered and extended off the left hand side of the outer coma at a 45-degree angle. The ionized gas tail, which is composed mostly of ions of water, carbon monoxide, and cyanogen, appeared striated and extended from the outer coma off towards the top or north. At higher magnifications I had the impression that the striated gas tail had lighter sections or pieces to it. The gas tail was longer and fainter than the dust tail.