Observing report for 25 March 1996




Comet Hyakutake, Gegenschein


We got our snowstorm Saturday night (5"), but it moved quickly out, and by late evening Sunday skies were clearing. Moonset was scheduled for about 6:50UT, so I headed out at 6:00UT. This storm brought in some really cold air and it was already -8F at my place when I left. [On nights like this, it is often much colder in areas outside of town, so it was probably already -10 at the observing site.] The airport ended up reaching -18F, only 6 degrees above our all-time March record.

As for the comet...WOW!!!! The tail was 60 degrees long with the naked-eye and ended up blended in with the Gegenschein (this is actually the first time I've been sure I've seen the Gegenschein). Unfortunately, my camera battery died so I didn't get any pictures (I'm going out again tonight, though, with two new sets of batteries). I was having considerable problems with my glasses fogging up. Various structure was evident in the tail and the motion of the comet was very evident in a short time in binocs. I don't really remember whether I saw any structure in the coma, i.e. the 'jet'; I waited too long before writing this. The last hour I was there, I just sat in my car with heater on and my window rolled down admiring the comet (this worked very well as it didn't affect image quality and it kept my glasses defogged).

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