Comet Machholz C/2004 Q2

   There is a new human-discovered comet in the skies... and quickly becoming a very nice object.
A local N. Colorado amateur astronomer just images it the other night.....

Very Nice, Brian. There is now visible, a Ion tail & Dust tail.       Brian's image from Dec 19, 2004....notice the twin ion tails.
bnimball"at" The dust tail is very obvious here.  The ion    And more aligned on the comet than the stars, like the top is,
or debris tail is at 8 o'clock on the comet.                             it's moving faster.

    SpaceWeather has pictures of current comets many of the days.

 Comets' path from Jan 1 -10 at about 7PM.  See Orion at the bottom

 It's ~4.2 right now, naked eye visible, but binoculars will let you see detail of the coma, the tail is
quite dim yet, but it could brighten up to 4.1,  when it's next to the Pleiades on Jan. 5-8,  2005.
From the Yahoo_Comet_ML is this message:

"Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2004 21:40:06 +0200
   From: "Mike Begbie" <>
Subject: Re: C/2004 Q2 Comet Machholz

Hi All

Totally agree on the fact that MUCH more dust tail is visual than on recent images.
My last ob. on 13th Dec. showed 2+ degrees of dust tail with binoculars.
I don't think however, Thomas, that we are seeing ANTI-TAIL here at the moment.
As John says it is probably Type III heavy particle stuff."

I would take that to be the artifact on Brians' pic. that goes from the coma to the top
right corner. At 1024x768, I noticed there is a very interesting feature in the coma of
this pic.

(Source: MPEC 2004-Q58
                  They also have the preliminary Two Line Elements on the site. )

                 ........and from the Discoverer!!

Message: 7
   Date: Sun, 29 Aug 2004 05:32:38 -0000
   From: "donmachholz" <>
Subject: Thanks from Don Machholz

Greetings Cometeers;

I've been sitting here, new to the group, reading these messages and
congratulations.  Thank you to all of you for your kind words.  It
is humbling.

It was only yesterday morning when I found the comet yet so much has
happened since then.

I began comet hunting on Jan 1, 1975, and for nearly 30 years now
I've done some comet hunting each and every month.  At the time I
found this comet I had searched 7046 hours, 1457 since my previous
find, in 1994, when I found three comets in four months (go figure!)

When I found this latest one I was on my back deck, using my 6"
(15cm) Criterion Dynascope (purchased in 1968).  I used a 2" OD
eyepiece pressed over the focussing tube, yielding 30x and a field
of view of about 2 degrees.  This is the same setup I use for my
Messier Marathons, and I used it last March to find all 110 objects
by memory in one night. I'm very comfortable with it.  I use it on
my back deck from time to time to compliment the 10" reflector and
5" homemade binoculars I have in my observatory 30 meters from my
house.  With the 6" in the deck I can see down to -45 degrees
declination.  I had covered some of the southern sky on Aug 25, then
went back out on Aug 27 to cover more sky, working my way eastward
after each N-S sweep.

We will just have to wait and see what the comet actually does.
After I reported the discovery it is out of my hands.  I take no
credit for what it does, whether it fizzles, or brightens a lot, or
whether it hits some habited planetary body!  We are all observers
together now.

Take care and keep looking up.

Don Machholz