Comet Lulin

Spotted Comet Lulin tonight after much searching with the 80mm apo refractor; I started from M44 and began my search from there, working backward along what I guestimated was the comet’s path from the Sky and Telescope finder charts (star-hopping isn’t my forte). It was awfully faint, barely visible against the background sky — my back porch isn’t exactly a dark-sky preserve — which explains why my first attempt Saturday night, using 10×50 binoculars, didn’t go well. I needed more aperture (the 80mm apo) and more magnification (my 16mm type 5 Nagler gives 31½× on the apo).

This was my third comet. My second was Holmes, which was much easier to spot (and photograph). My first was Hale-Bopp, an experience I don’t expect will ever be surpassed in my lifetime.

I mounted the refractor on my camera tripod; I tried it a different way this time and it worked much better. I may yet be able to avoid buying an alt-az mount for this telescope, which is handy since, as I said earlier today, I have to watch my pennies nowadays.

Also looked around the neighbourhood of Orion tonight. The Moon looked wonderful; should have spent some more time looking at it at higher magnifications.