Winter comets

No one is claiming “comet of the century,” but this winter and spring will feature a couple of bright comets.  A nice warm-up act for the eclipse!

First up is 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova.  See Seiichi Yoshida’s excellent comet website http://www.aerith.net/comet/future-n.html for rough finder charts and light curves, then make sure it is added to your favorite desktop/phone app. Probably not naked eye, but it’ll be good in binoculars. We’ll see how it ramps up next month.

Next Comet 2P/Encke makes one of it’s better apparitions. We’ll be looking for that in February and March.

But wait, there’s more: 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak may reach 5th magnitude in April. In the northern sky starting in March, it will be circumpolar, making a very tempting target for photography.

Come May, it’s C/2015 V2 ( Johnson )! This comet will peak about the first of July.

There are always comets, but so much of the time even the brightest are far below even binoculars or telescopes in the city. So we’ll have fun sharpening our observing skills before we watch the grand show in August!