First, a thank you to several people who have sent emails and comments in the past few days. I will get around to answering them, but it may take a while. I was traveling by plane again today, and am working at Kitt Peak with two grad students from the University of Texas, pictured above. Between the three of us, we had managed to grab a total of 8 hours of sleep last night. So, earlier while I worked on solving some computer problems, they grabbed a quick nap.
Those of you who have a crystal clear view of the western horizon at sunset in the next couple of days should try to look for Comet McNaught about 20 minutes after sunset. Although the sky will still be bright, you may have a chance at spotting one of the brightest comets in years. In the next couple of weeks, Comet McNaught may be as bright as the planet Venus, but it will be between the Earth and the Sun and so invisible if you are not a spacecraft. I looked from here tonight, but distant clouds blocked my view of the horizon.