Messier 71 and Garradd Comet Conjunction - 2011

Messier 71 and garradd comet sketch

Location and conditions: Britain Park, Israel. ~6.0 NELM, good seeing, high humidity.
Date: 26-27/08/2011 ; 00:31 (GMT + 3)
Instrument: Orion skyview pro 8" F/5 Newtonian. 6mm TMB eyepiece. 167x  (23')
Drawing details: Graphite pencil drawing on a white paper, made while observing with a telescope under red light. Sketch is North oriented.  Observer: Michael Vlasov.

comet at top:  Garradd comet (C/2009 P1) ; 8.2 mag ; distance: 209,000,000 km

cluster at bottom: M71 globular star cluster ; 8.2 magnitude ; constellation: Sagitta;
distance: 12,000 light years (114,000,000,000,000,000 km)

Notes:

"Garradd" comet in a remarkably close conjunction with Messier 71 star cluster.
The comet and the cluster appear very similar through the eyepiece (both shining at approximately 8.2th magnitude and similar size). That's why it's hard to realize that the comet is roughly 500 million times closer (and smaller) then M71.

M71 is a very loose globular cluster in Sagitta, without dense core. It's a beautiful object and can be easily split to stars. It appears more like a dense open cluster rather then a globular.

The comet has a small bright coma, symmetrical, round and evenly washed out shape. The "tail" (SE direction) was almost impossible to spot, due to less then ideal transparency conditions and high humidity. "Garradd" is moving pretty fast, and by the end of the night it had made apparent progress, relative to background stars.

Original drawing:
Messier 71 and garradd comet sketch - pencil


Published in jul 2012 issue of Interstellarum magazine.