by Mark Wagner
Using a 20 Nagler in my 18" f/4.5 Dob, which gives a 48 arcminute view at 103X, I was very surprised at the size and brightness of the coma. It was not so bright that it could be seen (at least not easily) in my 70mm finder. But in the eyepiece the coma was quite large and immediately obvious. At 103X it looked like a large unresolved globular cluster. Even with increased magnificatons, up to 294X, there was little additional detail to pull out - the only thing that changed was some brightening toward the center of the core.
The view was quite good, although whenever I put higher power on a bright comet like this one, it takes me back to Hale-Bopp in the 90's, when from my Los Gatos backyard using an 8" f/7 Dob I could watch material jetting and spiralling off its tight coma in real time.
We need another good comet! But in the meantime, if you can get to Montebello or Coyote during the week, 117P/Bradford is worth checking out.
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