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Cometa C/2004 Q2 (MACHHOLZ)

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(December 2004-January 2005)

By Salvador J. Ribas

During next Chistmas we will have the opportunity of experiment the wonder of the observation of a comet: the C/2004 Q2 Machholz. Once again it will arise curiosity and will drive to speak about Bethlehem Star. A detailed explanation about this issue is available in our web.

Imatge del cometa

Machholz comet (Image: Adam Block NOAO / AURA / NSF )

Machholz, discovered on 27th August 2004 by Donald E. Machholz Jr., is the tenth comet discovered by this astronomer since 1978. After initial analysis of its orbit, determine that the moment of maximum approximation to the Sun ( perihelion) will be next 24th January 2005 was possible, as well as that some days before it will be near enough to make popular observation possible from northern hemisphere. The best day to observe it is 10th January 2005.

Animation of Machholz orbit

Machholz will follow an apparent path in the sky from south no north and on Christmas it will be situated near the border between Eridanus and Taurus constellations and will have an approximated magnitude of 4.6. Then, on 6th January 2005 (the three Magi day), it will pass very near the Pleiades ( magnitude 4.2) and the day it will be seen with a largest brightness will be 10th January ( magnitude 4.1), when it will be among Taurus, Aries and Perseus. You can have a look at the detailed ephemerides at MPC .

Traject˛ria del cometa Machholz

A significant part of the information comes from Minor Planet Center and from Gary W. Kronk's Cometography.

Images from net surfers:

Send us your photographs to the mail serviastro@am.ub.es!!! We will post them on this web page so that everybody can contemplate them.

The samples we have currently received are the following:

Rafael Balaguer

( Agrupaciˇ d'afeccionats a l'astronomia de Girona)
Composiciˇ de dues fotografies del Machholz. En una d'elles  apareix a mÚs Rigel

Image obtained with a photographic film of 400 ASA (exposition: 3 minutes)
Date/Place: 19th December 2004, Llagostera (Girona)

└lex Roca and └ngels Escuer

Fotografia del cometa en la qual s'aprecia perfectament la seva  'cua'

Image obtained with a photographic film of 100 ASA (exposition: 5 minutes)
Date/Place: 29th December 2004, Hortoneda (Pallars JussÓ, Lleida)

Pedro Quele

Imatge en la que s'aprecia el Machholz com un punt

Image obtained with a photographic film of 100 ASA (exposition: 4 minutes)
Date/Place: 29th December 2004, San Salvador (El Salvador)

Jorge Solera

El cometa Machholz com un preciˇs punt verd

Image obtained with webcam joined to an 8" telescope
Date/Place: 1st January 2005, Santa ┌rsula (Tenerife)

└lex Roca and └ngels Escuer

Image composition on the approximation of Machholz to the Pleiades

FantÓstica composiciˇ amb 5 instantÓnies del moviment aparent del  Machholz cap a les PlŔiades

Images obtained with a photographic film of 100 ASA (exposition: 5 minutes)
Date/Place: 2nd to 7th January 2005, Hortoneda (Pallars JussÓ, Lleida)

└lex Roca and └ngels Escuer

Imatge del cometa amb una lleugera impressiˇ de la 'cua'

Image obtained with a photographic film of 100 ASA (exposition: 5 minutes)
Date/Place: 4th January 2005, Hortoneda (Pallars JussÓ, Lleida)

Esteban GarcÝa and Pilar Friaza

El cometa Machholz a prop de les PlŔiades

Image obtained with a photographic film of 400 ASA (exposition: 8 minutes)
Date/Place: 8th January 2005, Campillo de Altobuey (Cuenca)

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