Comet Linear, C/1998 U5

I don't claim to be an expert on comets but I have a hard time relating to descriptions of them in the magazines and on-line. When we are told that a comet is magnitude 8.5 and visible in binoculars, I get interested. When I can barely see it in my 16" at my "relatively" dark site, I am flabergasted to read that it is easily visible from "light polluted Boston in a 6" telescope". When I take a CCD reading of it's magnitude and find that it is M 13.5, I simply do not know what to think. So I just take a photo and share what I do understand. This object looked so much like a remote galaxy that I had to take another photo the same night to make sure that it was the comet I was seeing.

Comet Linear 1198 U5

The night this photo was taken, Comet Linear was about as far from the Earth as it was from the Sun. It was discovered in October by a team from MIT's Lincoln Laboratory Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project.

The main photo was taken at 7 P.M. local time and the insert was taken 40 minutes later. Note the position of the comet relative to the small triangle of stars.

This photo was a 10 min exposure on Hypered Techpan taken through the 16" telescope.

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