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Evening Comet January 11, 2007

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
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comet   I always love it when the sky turns dark and cloudy. The smell of the rain in Tucson is intoxicating and welcome. This week, clouds on the western horizon were the last thing I wanted to see. Reports on sites like spaceweather.com and space.com noted a sharp brightening of Comet McNaught as it passed closer to the sun each day.

Unfortunately, for the past few days we have had clouds to the west. However, tonight, just as I was about to settle down to dinner, I noticed the west had brightened up a little. I ran outside and scanned the horizon with the binoculars I always keep by the door. There, after just a little looking around, was one of the brightest comets in the past thirty years.

I only took a moment to soak it in and ran to get my daughter and wife. They are used to my excitement about matters astronomical so when I told them they had perhaps five minutes to see this thing before it sunk below the horizon they were outside with me right away.

We may get perhaps one more chance to see it. I would urge you to look toward the sun immediately after it sets and scan the horizon with binoculars. You will not be disappointed, that is, unless the comet has already crashed into the sun.

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