Chasing an Anti-Tail
By Martin Mc Kenna (C/2004 F4 (Bradfield))
C/2004 F4 (Bradfield)
Sketch and Details by Martin Mc Kenna
C/2004 F4 Bradfield on April 29th 2004 at 03.47 LT as seen through the 8″ F/6.3 S.Cass among the star fields of Pisces low in the NE very close to the sun. This was a beautiful comet – I could see it rise tail first over my garden trees through my 10X50 binoculars and finder scope. The white straight dust tail was 5 degrees long with a compact well condensed white/green coma and spine. However this morning was a time of surprise and discovery – as soon as I swept up the comet I was shocked to see a bright anti-tail pointing toward the sun which was not their before. This was my first observation of an anti-tail and I was among only a few lucky observers to have seen it.
Before it appeared in the morning sky the comet made for a spectacular sight in the SOHO LASCO C3 images where Bradfield could be seen completing a hairpin turn around the sun with an incredible bright curved tail. The comet looked like it was a living creature! This was the 18th comet discovered by the living legend known as William (Bill) Bradfield who found the comet close to the sun during an evenings comet search.