Comet 16-16


C/2002 C1 Ikeya - Zhang on March 12th 2002 at 19.48 LT in the 8" F/10 S.Cass. At the time of the sketch the comet was a 4th magnitude naked eye object within Pisces in the low western evening sky close to the horizon.

That evening was a stunning crystal clear one and I had planned to observer this comet asap. I had seen the comet just just one day after discovery as an 8th magnitude fuzzy patch in Cetus and followed it for several nights as it tracked further NW each evening as it build up speed approaching both the Earth and the Sun. I was clouded out for many nights following these observations and had no idea what the comet was doing. On the evening of March 12th I set up my 8" and using a hair dryer I removed a film of frost from the corrector plate then set up the scope in the backyard. When Ikeya - Zhang entered the FOV I nearly fell off my chair! - instead of a fuzzy patch of light there was a bright 'broom star' with a long dust tail, I couldn't believe this was the same comet and it was then that I realized this was a serious object!