Diffuse comets are difficult to see

Forums Comets Comet 46P Wirtenan – visibility Diffuse comets are difficult to see

Nick James

As others have said 46P/Wirtanen is exactly where the orbit says it should be but diffuse comets are much more difficult to see than their magnitudes would suggest. Even though this one got to 4th magnitude at its brightest the light was spread over an area several times that of the Moon. I did see it a few times from my light polluted garden in Chelmsford using 11×80 bins but it wasn’t easy. Other people at dark sites did get a much better view. With these diffuse comets it is usually better to use binoculars than a telescope.