C/2004 Q2 (Machholz)

Comet C/2004 Q2 (Machholz) was well placed in the southern hemisphere during December 2004/early January 2005 as it brightened and headed north through Lepus into Taurus and then into Perseus. At its brightest from dark sky locations it was a clear naked eye fuzzy whilst in binoculars and telescope it was a sizable fuzzy blue-green ball with an almost stellar nucleus and two tails. On the 7th January 2005 it passed by the Pleiades.

Here's a few views from a dark-sky site about 100km SE of Melbourne.


Imaged in northern Taurus on the 10th January 2005, the comet with the Pleiades in the same field; 10min exposure onto Fuji P-400F through a 135mm lens at f/2.8. Fading twilight responsible for the blue cast in the field.
Imaged on the 10th January; 10min exposure onto Fuji P-400F through a 300mm lens at f/2.8. Note thin gas tail at 12 o'clock and a broader dust tail at 3 o'clock.
An image taken against the stars of Lepus on the 14th December 2004; 5 minute exposure through a 300mm lens at f/2.8 onto E-200 slide film. The almost stellar nucleus and extensive blue-green coma are clearly displayed. No tail was visible.

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