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Despite moving away from Earth as it heads towards the outer reaches of the Solar System comet Catalina remains well placed from Northern Hemisphere and tropical locations during February. At the start of the month the comet shone at magnitude +6.9 and beyond naked eye visibility but easily within binocular range. Unless something now dramatic happens it's expected to fade by another two magnitudes by months end, becoming increasingly difficult to spot with binoculars. At this level of brightness a small size telescope - preferably larger - is recommended for observing. From mid southern locations Catalina can no longer be seen.

Comet Catalina (credit - Ian Sharp/SSO)

From northern locations, Catalina can be seen high in the sky towards the north after sunset. The comet remains circumpolar from many locations and therefore visible all night long. It spends all of February moving on a southerly path through the dim constellation of Camelopardalis. The highlight of the month occurs on February 22nd and 23rd when Catalina passes close by open cluster NGC 1502. This small cluster shines at magnitude +7.0 and normally would be unremarkable except for a long line of mainly 8th and 9th magnitude stars adjacent to it known as "Kemble's Cascade". This superb asterism was discovered by Father Lucian Kemble who described it as "a beautiful cascade of faint stars tumbling from the northwest down to the open cluster NGC 1502".

Kemble's Cascade in Camelopardalis (credit:- Wayne Young)

The easiest way to find Kemble's Cascade is to imagine a line connection stars Caph (β Cas - mag. +2.3) and epsilon Cas (ε Cas - mag. +3.4) in Cassiopeia. Then extend the line eastwards by the same distance again to reach Kemble's Cascade. The asterism covers about 4 degrees of sky. For imagers a configuration with a large field of view is required to capture both the comet and the Kemble's Cascade in the same shot.

The finder charts below show the positions of Catalina from February 9th to March 8th, 2016.

Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) Finder Chart from February 9th to March 8th, 2016 (credit:- freestarcharts)

Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) Finder Chart from February 9th to March 8th, 2016 - pdf format (credit:- freestarcharts)

Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) Finder Chart from January 30th to February 12th, 2016 (credit:- freestarcharts)

Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) Finder Chart from January 30th to February 12th, 2016 - pdf format (credit:- freestarcharts)

Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) Finder Chart from January 22nd to January 31st, 2016 (credit:- freestarcharts)

Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) Finder Chart from January 22nd to January 31st, 2016 - pdf format (credit:- freestarcharts)

(C/2013 US10) Catalina Data (at epoch November 15, 2014)

NameC/2013 US10 (Catalina)
DiscovererCatalina Sky Survey
Discovery dateOctober 31, 2013
Perihelion (AU)0.82290
Orbital period (years)unknown
Inclination (degrees) 148.8733
Longitude of ascending node (degrees)186.1371
Perihelion November 15th, 2015

(C/2013 US10) Catalina Data Table

01-Feb-201608h 11m 30s81d 31m 57s6.90.886Camelopardalis
02-Feb-201607h 25m 41s81d 04m 02s7.00.906Camelopardalis
03-Feb-201606h 47m 34s80d 19m 17s7.10.928Camelopardalis
04-Feb-201606h 17m 07s79d 23m 32s7.20.950Camelopardalis
05-Feb-201605h 53m 09s78d 21m 19s7.20.973Camelopardalis
06-Feb-201605h 34m 15s77d 15m 49s7.30.997Camelopardalis
07-Feb-201605h 19m 16s76d 09m 07s7.41.021Camelopardalis
08-Feb-201605h 07m 14s75d 02m 33s7.51.046Camelopardalis
09-Feb-201604h 57m 29s73d 56m 58s7.61.072Camelopardalis
10-Feb-201604h 49m 29s72d 52m 56s7.61.098Camelopardalis
11-Feb-201604h 42m 52s71d 50m 46s7.71.124Camelopardalis
12-Feb-201604h 37m 21s70d 50m 40s7.81.151Camelopardalis
13-Feb-201604h 32m 43s69d 52m 43s7.91.179Camelopardalis
14-Feb-201604h 28m 48s68d 56m 59s7.91.207Camelopardalis
15-Feb-201604h 25m 28s68d 03m 25s8.01.235Camelopardalis
16-Feb-201604h 22m 39s67d 12m 02s8.11.263Camelopardalis
17-Feb-201604h 20m 14s66d 22m 45s8.11.292Camelopardalis
18-Feb-201604h 18m 10s65d 35m 30s8.21.321Camelopardalis
19-Feb-201604h 16m 25s64d 50m 14s8.31.350Camelopardalis
20-Feb-201604h 14m 55s64d 06m 51s8.41.380Camelopardalis
21-Feb-201604h 13m 38s63d 25m 17s8.41.409Camelopardalis
22-Feb-201604h 12m 34s62d 45m 28s8.51.439Camelopardalis
23-Feb-201604h 11m 39s62d 07m 18s8.61.469Camelopardalis
24-Feb-201604h 10m 54s61d 30m 44s8.61.499Camelopardalis
25-Feb-201604h 10m 17s60d 55m 40s8.71.530Camelopardalis
26-Feb-201604h 09m 47s60d 22m 03s8.81.560Camelopardalis
27-Feb-201604h 09m 24s59d 49m 48s8.81.591Camelopardalis
28-Feb-201604h 09m 06s59d 18m 52s8.91.621Camelopardalis
29-Feb-201604h 08m 54s58d 49m 10s9.01.652Camelopardalis
01-Mar-201604h 08m 47s58d 20m 40s9.01.683Camelopardalis
02-Mar-201604h 08m 43s57d 53m 19s9.11.714Camelopardalis
03-Mar-201604h 08m 44s57d 27m 02s9.11.744Camelopardalis
04-Mar-201604h 08m 49s57d 01m 47s9.21.775Camelopardalis
05-Mar-201604h 08m 56s56d 37m 31s9.21.806Camelopardalis
06-Mar-201604h 09m 07s56d 14m 12s9.31.837Camelopardalis
07-Mar-201604h 09m 21s55d 51m 46s9.31.868Camelopardalis
08-Mar-201604h 09m 37s55d 30m 12s9.41.899Camelopardalis
09-Mar-201604h 09m 56s55d 09m 28s9.51.930Camelopardalis
10-Mar-201604h 10m 16s54d 49m 30s9.51.961Camelopardalis
11-Mar-201604h 10m 39s54d 30m 17s9.61.992Camelopardalis
12-Mar-201604h 11m 04s54d 11m 48s9.62.022Camelopardalis
13-Mar-201604h 11m 31s53d 53m 60s9.72.053Camelopardalis
14-Mar-201604h 11m 59s53d 36m 51s9.72.084Camelopardalis
15-Mar-201604h 12m 29s53d 20m 20s9.82.114Camelopardalis
16-Mar-201604h 13m 00s53d 04m 25s9.82.145Camelopardalis
17-Mar-201604h 13m 33s52d 49m 06s9.92.176Perseus
18-Mar-201604h 14m 07s52d 34m 19s9.92.206Perseus
19-Mar-201604h 14m 42s52d 20m 04s10.02.236Perseus
20-Mar-201604h 15m 18s52d 06m 20s10.12.267Perseus
21-Mar-201604h 15m 55s51d 53m 06s10.22.297Perseus
22-Mar-201604h 16m 34s51d 40m 19s10.22.327Perseus
23-Mar-201604h 17m 13s51d 28m 00s10.22.357Perseus
24-Mar-201604h 17m 53s51d 16m 07s10.22.387Perseus
25-Mar-201604h 18m 34s51d 04m 39s10.32.417Perseus
26-Mar-201604h 19m 16s50d 53m 35s10.32.446Perseus
27-Mar-201604h 19m 58s50d 42m 54s10.32.476Perseus
28-Mar-201604h 20m 41s50d 32m 36s10.42.505Perseus
29-Mar-201604h 21m 25s50d 22m 39s10.42.534Perseus
30-Mar-201604h 22m 09s50d 13m 03s10.42.564Perseus
31-Mar-201604h 22m 54s50d 03m 47s10.52.593Perseus

See also

Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) now fading as it recedes from Earth. Currently moving through the far northern constellations. Remains visible with binoculars and small telescopes.
Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) remains visible with binoculars and small telescopes at it moves northwards. This month offers the last good chance to catch a glimpse before it fades significantly.
Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) moves past Arcturus as it heads north during January. Remains visible with binoculars and small telescopes.
Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) remains an early morning binocular and small telescope object
Catalina (C/2013 US10) an early morning binocular and small telescope comet
Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) edges towards naked eye visibility
Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) remains visible in the evening from Southern and Equatorial Latitudes during September 2015
Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) now visible with binoculars from Southern and Equatorial Latitudes