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Comet 73P-Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, component B (2006), May 17th, 2006

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

Comet 73P-Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, component B (2006), May 17th, 2006, 7:10 - 7:25 UT, seeing 2-3 (poor-fair), transparency 4.4.

TMB Optical 105mm f/6.2 refractor on an alt-az mount. Magnification 27x-93x, field of view approximately 0.4 degrees. East is at the bottom of this sketch, west to the top, north to the left and south to the right.

Component B showed an elongated coma with a fan-shaped feathery tail. There were times that I thought a pseudo-nucleus was visible but I was not 100% sure. Component B was noticeably easier to see than component C and appeared brighter and larger.


Comet 73P-Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, component C (2006), May 17th, 2006

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

Comet 73P-Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, component C (2006), May 17th, 2006, 6:55 - 7:05 UT, seeing 2-3 (poor-fair), transparency 4.4.

TMB Optical 105mm f/6.2 refractor on an alt-az mount. Magnification 41x-72, field of view approximately 0.4 degrees. East is at the bottom of this sketch, west to the top, north to the left and south to the right.

Component C appeared small and faint with a modest coma with a short feathery tail. No pseudo-nucleus was noted. Component C appeared fainter and smaller than component B.

As I was setting up the telescope equipment I noticed that the summer constellations of Scorpius and Sagittarius were well placed in the southern sky, with the waning gibbous Moon at 83% phase near the teapot handle of Sagittarius. The light of the Moon and some haze in the air reduced the transparency to around 4.4, and washed some of the detail in the comet components. As I observed I listened to owls in the nearby trees as they called out to each other in the cool night air.

The comet components were located in the constellation of Pegasus, and later as Andromeda got higher in the sky I observed M31 through the telescope and a pair of 11x70mm Oberwerk binoculars. I have always thought of Pegasus and Andromeda as a fall constellation, but on this spring night it seemed as though autumn was patiently waiting in the wings for spring and summer to pass.