Observing report for 15 March 1996

Location/Conditions

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After seeing Hyakutake on a couple previous nights with binoculars low in the sky, I finally got dark skies and stayed up late enough to make a naked-eye sighting, at about 8:25UT on the 15th. My best guess at integrated magnitude is 4.0, but the coma is so big that it was hard for me to do the defocus thing on a star with my binoculars (7x50s). This was from my somewhat light-polluted backyard with a naked-eye limiting magnitude of about 5.0. In binocs, I think the comet was elongated towards the west, but this was not very obvious to me. This is my first naked-eye comet since Halley. [Actually, this was not even close to being true. I saw Bradfield in 1987, and Austin and Levy in 1990 and possibly Okazaki-Levy-Rudenko in 1989.] Next week ought to be great! I hope everybody gets some clear skies.


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