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By Richard Handy; et al

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16) This is also a good time to finish writing any notes about the observation. Step 9: Marking motion I find that part of the enjoyment of comet observing is noting the motion of the comet over the course of the observation. You may notice motion over the course of making your sketch or you may go off to other observations and return to the comet an hour or two later to note its new position. In either case, if you make a point to mark its position carefully and note the time, you will have a rough estimate of its direction and rate of travel.

If the comet is faint, a tail (if present) may be very difficult to detect. This is where movement of the telescope—perhaps letting the comet drift through the field—can be helpful in spotting this feature. If one or more tails are evident, how long and wide do they appear? Which portions of the tails are brightest, and can you spot any irregularity in that brightness? The comet in this tutorial exhibits a pronounced tail. If the comet you are sketching does not have one, simply disregard those steps.

When sketching, you must endeavor to keep the light turned down as much as possible. As your eyes adjust to the dark, that faint light will gradually become useful enough to accurately render your sketch—at least when it comes to stars. The situation becomes a little trickier when rendering faint nebulosity. The faintest settings on your sketch light can make it very difficult to discern the feeblest smudges of blended graphite on paper. With the light at such a low level, you may end up overdoing the darkness of the shading simply because you cannot see it on the sketch.

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