C/2004 Q2 Machholz

Closest to Earth: 2005 Jan 5th at 0.34AU
Peak brightness: Magnitude 3.5 in early Jan 2005.
Closest to Sun: 2005 Jan 24th at 1.20AU

On August 27th, 2004, Don E. Machholz (Colfax, CA, USA) discovered his 10th comet visually with a 0.15-m reflector. His last discovery occurred in 1994.
During October, it was well placed for southern hemisphere observers in the Eastern sky rising about 9pm local time. By the start of December, the comet had brightened to magnitude 6.0, trekking slowly northward through Eridanus and visible all night. During January, comet Machholz was at its peak brightness of magnitude 3.5 and well placed in the evening sky in the constellation of Taurus. On the nights of Jan 7th and 8th, comet Machholz was less than 3 degrees west of the Pleiades star cluster in Taurus. By the end of January, the show was over for Southern Hemisphere observers as comet Machholz treks towards the North Celestial Pole.

Jan 6th 2005
Left: 1x3 minute exposure with Canon 300D through canon EF lens at 90mm.
Right: 3x3 minute exposures at 300mm.

Jan 7th 2005
Left: 9 minute exposure with Canon 300D digital camera through Canon EF 55mm zoom lens.
Right: 2x3 minute exposures through Takahashi FS104.

Jan 7th at 12:20UT
40x10 second exposures, Starlight Express MX7c imager + C11 at f/3.3
Larsen-Sekania filter applied. Note the 2 prominent jets (6 and 7 o'clock positions) in the sunward direction. The ion tail streamer points towards the upper right.