Comet McNaught

Comet McNaughtDiscovered by by British-Australian astronomer Robert H. McNaught via a CCD image on August 7, 2006. The discovery was made during the Siding Spring Survey searching for Near Earth Object threats. The comet was tracked for the rest of the year although not managing naked eye visibility until the new year. After the comet was lost in the sun’s glare, it re-emerged having brightened very rapidly reaching naked-eye visibility for Southern sky observers  in early January 2007. The comet reached perihelion on January 12, 2007 with a close approach to the sun of 0.17AU. This was close enough to be viewed in SOHO’s LASCO 3 camera for all to see online. On January 13-14, the comet reached a dazzling brightness of -5.5 making it the brightest comet for over 40 years. Its tail reached an impressive 35 degrees in length. The tail developed in to a huge fan shape in the Southern twilight sky.


  1. Good grief – already 10 years ago! I viewed it from the Appalachian Mtns in Virginia, USA before it moved below our horizon, then managed to see the ends of the synchrones in the following days as it became spectacular in the southern hemisphere…

  2. Saw it from an airplane against a spectacular red sunset, above an equally spectacular forked lightning show within a big black black cloud bank. Unforgettable experience. And totally unexpected as I hadn’t even heard about it! (One of the flight attendants overheard me talking excitedly about it, told the pilots, who then announced it to the cabin.)

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