C/2013 UQ4 (CATALINA)

I knew that I would be heading to a dark-sky site soon, but the Moon would be up until midnight. Luckily, this little Mag 10+ comet was available and well placed just after midnight, and so I printed out my maps.

Once the Moon set, I started searching for this comet. It was a little further along than I had expected (this comet is 0.3AU from Earth and reaches perihelion on July 6). It was just a dim smudge at 60, hardly noticeable, with no p-nucleus. At 200x, not much change, but some outer coma was just barely noted with averted vision. While drawing it, it seemed to disappear (!). I knew it was moving fast, and I suspected it was hovering over a star. I waited 2-3 more minutes and it reappeared on the other side. Within a couple of minutes, now away from that star, it seemed to grow in size.

This comet was really moving! The movement almost seemed visible. Very minute-to-minute. Unfortunately, with the Moon growing brighter and approaching Full Moon while this comet starts receding very fast, I doubt that I will get another opportunity to observe it.

This comet was previously cataloged as an asteroid on an elliptical orbit, but it started growing a coma as it approached perihelion and was given comet status.

(click on image below to enlarge)