Ever since I heard about Comet Lulin appearing, I have been keeping a watch out for a clear evening around the time of its closest approach. The Lake causes our part of the region to be in an almost constant grey funk with cloudy skies. I had also been in contact with my friend Kacey who is also interested in astronomy so that when the time was right, we could see it together.
The last time we tried this turned out to be a disaster. During my junior year at MSU, there was supposed to be a meteor shower that promised to be spectacular. The problem was that the weather wasn’t cooperative. Michigan was under a blanket of clouds. Having the time, money, and spontaneous drive to do not-so-smart things, we decided to take a road trip to west Illinois where the weather was clear. On our way there, we would be passing near to our homes and by cruel fate, when we were only miles away from home, we hit a deer on the highway and wrecked her car. Her mom was pissed when she came to get us!
The other night turned out to be less of a disaster and more of a disappointment. Although we had a great viewing area (see this post), the comet wasn’t as visible as I had hoped. I honestly thought that at the very least we would see a fuzzy green dot. It was barely visible to the naked eye and in binoculars it appeared to be a green star slightly blurred.
Even though the comet turned out to be a dud, we did have excellent viewing conditions and spent some time finding faint constellations and looking out for Mars (which I’m fairly sure we identified correctly). Both of us want to travel out west some day and see how great the viewing is out there.