2011 September 1
Comet Garradd sweeps past the Coathanger
As Comet Garradd makes its lazy sweep across the night sky, after last weeks close encounter with M71, this week the comet will cross just under the popular asterism known as the Coathanger. Also known as Brocchi’s Cluster and catalogued as Collinder 399 – today, though, it is generally recognised to be just an asterism, a chance collection of stars making up a pattern, rather than a true cluster of stars that were created at much the same time.
The Coathanger also has a special place in the heart of the BAA, as one of the Association’s most active observers, George Alcock, discovered a nova there in 1976.
This chart shows the comets path over the next few days.
This comet is easy with 10×50 binoculars, and is straightforward to find by locating the lovely double star Albireo (Beta Cygni), then hang down south and you will come to the Coathanger, and just under the Coathanger will be found comet Garradd.
If you manage to capture an image of this, please send it in for our picture of the week spot.
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