Comet C/2006 P1 McNaught
The Great Daylight comet of 2007 and arguably the comet of the century
Closest to Sun: 2007 Jan 12 at 0.17AU
Closest to Earth: 2007 Jan 15 at 0.82AU
Maximum magnitude -5 on January 14, 2007.




2007 January 22.
Location: Henley Beach, Suburb of Adelaide
Canon 300D, ISO 800, 18mm lens cropped, 30 seconds.


Discovery
Robert McNaught, a professional astronomer conducting the Siding Spring survey (near Coonabarabran NSW)
reported his discovery of a new comet on Aug 7, 2006. This was Robertís 31st find.
The magnitude 17 comet was then situated 3 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun.
This distance rapidly reduced to 0.17AU from the Sun on January 12, 2007 where the comet appeared brightest.

Development
C/2006 P1 was within 30 degrees of the Sun since early November 2006 but was still followed by amateur observers equipped with CCD cameras.
By early January 2007, visual observations from the northern hemisphere were reported as the comet rapidly brightened in the twilight sky.
The comet  arrived in the field of view of the orbiting SOHO C3 coronagraph on January 12 and showed spectacular detail to the surprise of many.
On January 14.40UT, I made a daylight naked eye observation, 7 minutes prior to sunset, estimating -5.
On January15, the comet was closest to the earth at a distance of 0.82AU, appearing only 7 degrees away from the Sun
and shining at magnitude -4.
 


2007 January 17.5UT.
Situated only 13 degrees from the Sun.
9:16pm ACDT, Canon 300D, 4/10 second exposure, ISO 400, fl 300mm cropped
By the evening of January 17, the comet had moved sufficiently away from the Sun and appeared
very low in the western evening sky after sunset in the constellation of Microscopium.
It appeared as bright as magnitude -2 using a pair of 7x50mm binoculars 15 minutes after sunset



2007 January 22.
Location: Henley Beach, Suburb of Adelaide
Canon 300D, ISO 400, fl 300mm
By January 22, the comet had moved into a sufficiently dark sky and shone at 0 magnitude


January 23, 2007.
Location: near Myponga, South Australia
Canon 300D. ISO 1600, 18mm lens, 80 seconds.
Note the difference a dark sky makes when compared to the January 22 photos.
The tail striations stretch well beyond Fomalhaut, over 30 degrees from the comet.
Comet now of first magnitude

below On January 24, the comet moved into Indus
still only 27 degrees away from the Sun and a mere 5 degrees above the horizon at the end of astronomical twilight from 35S latitude.

January 24, 2007.
Location: near Stockport observatory, South Australia
Canon 300D. ISO 800, 18mm lens, 100 seconds.


January 24, 2007.
Location: Stockport observatory, South Australia
Canon 300D, ISO 800, 18mm lens cropped, 60 seconds.


January 24, 2007.
Location: Stockport observatory, South Australia
Left: Canon 300D, ISO 800, 18mm lens, 60 seconds.


January 25, 2007.
Location: Grange beach, suburb of Adelaide, South Australia
Canon 300D, ISO 800, 18mm lens cropped, 60 seconds.
Unfortunately, moonlight began to interfere with dark sky viewing until after the full moon of Feb 2.
 


January 29, 2007.
Location: Penwortham, Clare Valley, South Australia.
Justin Tilbrook's observatory.
Canon 300D, ISO 800, 18mm lens cropped, 30 seconds. Comet estimated at magnitude 2.4




January 29, 2007.
Location: Penwortham, Clare Valley, South Australia.
Justin Tilbrook's observatory.
Canon 300D, ISO 800, 18mm lens cropped, 30 seconds.


February 4, 2007.
Location: Melbourne, Victoria. Estimated magnitude 3.8
Canon 300D, ISO 800, 40mm focal length, 3x30 seconds cropped.


February 9, 2007.
Location: Two Wells, South Australia.
Canon 300D, ISO 1600, 18mm focal length, 3x30 seconds cropped.
By February 9, the comet had faded to magnitude 4.3.



May 10, 2007.
10x10 sec, C11 SCT at f/3 + MX7c ccd.

Further information can be found at Robert McNaughts website: http://msowww.anu.edu.au/~rmn/C2006P1.htm

My observations in ICQ format below:
2006P1 2007 01 14.40 B -5: 0.0E 1 1 9 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 01 16.41 B -3: 5.0B 7 1 9 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 01 17.41 B -2: 5.0B 7 1 9 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 01 22.47 !B 0.3 TK 0.0E 1 9 25 150 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 01 23.47 !B 1.0 TK 0.0E 1 9 35 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 01 24.47 B 1.5 TK 0.0E 1 9 20 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 01 25.47 B 1.8 TK 0.0E 1 9 20 145 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 01 29.48 B 2.4 TK 0.0E 1 9 15 150 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 01 30.48 B 2.8 TK 0.0E 1 9 15 150 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 02 03.49 B 3.6 TK 5.0B 7 5 8 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 02 04.49 B 3.8 TK 5.0B 7 5 8 3 150 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 02 06.49 B 4.0 TK 5.0B 7 5 8 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 02 08.49 B 4.2 TK 5.0B 7 5 8 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 02 09.50 B 4.3 TK 5.0B 7 8 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 02 20.50 B 5.5 TK 5.0B 7 8 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 03 01.50 B 7.1 TK 10.0B 25 3 7 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 04 10.49 S 9.0 TK 10.0B 25 5 4 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 2007 04 17.51 S 9.2 TK 10.0B 25 5 4 ICQ nn MAT08
2006P1 070114.40 Daylight naked eye observation, 7 minutes prior to sunset. [MAT08]
2006P1 070116.41 Observation made in binoculars just after sunset [MAT08]
2006P1 070117.41 Observation through binoculars 15 minutes after sunset. [MAT08]
2006P1 070123.47 The dust tail arches over alpha grus and ends near Fomalhaut [MAT08]
2006P1 070124.47 moonlight starting to affect view of tail [MAT08]
2006P1 070204.49 Tail appears as V shape [MAT08]
2006P1 070301.50 Moonlight interference [MAT08]