Coming home from my walk late yesterday evening, I got real excited I thought I could see a comet and for a moment I thought… yes! – Its Comet Jacques.
But of course, it was not.
Over the last six or seven nights weather permitting I have been looking at Comet Jacques through binoculars as it makes its way across the sky to the left of the easily recognisable “W” of Cassiopeia. If you have very keen eyes and are in the county away from light pollution it can be just about discerned with the naked eye as a faint, misty, fuzzy spot.
Tonight the rain is bucketing down here in Mayo, so I will not see Jacques as in enters into the constellation of Cepheus. However the weather forecast promises better conditions for the coming weekend and early days of September. On the 29th August Jacques will pass closest to the Earth at a distance of 52million miles (84 million kilometres) and will hold its current +7 magnitude through early September.
As for the above photo what I was really seeing was an airplane contrail, which can appear brilliantly lit and look just a little like a comet when seen in the direction of the setting sun.