OK, the moon’s slimming down, the sky’s getting darker by degrees. You’re hoping to see the green comet pictured in recent online photos. I know exactly how you feel because I want to see it, too! Comet 252P/LINEAR has finally climbed high enough in the southern sky before dawn for most skywatchers in the U.S. and southern Canada to seek it this weekend. The latest brightness estimates put the comet at around magnitude +6.5, which is either at or just below the naked eye limit depending on your skies. BUT — and it’s a big but — you’ll need a dark sky to go that low. And that’s something we won’t have until the moon backs out of the picture starting April 1.
For now, 50mm or larger binoculars will be needed to combat the moonlight. Because the comet is described as “diffuse” or not strongly compacted in its center, it will appear faint in binoculars. The best instrument would be a modest-sized telescope, say a 6-inch reflector, working at a low magnification, say about 50x. You can use either or both of these charts. The wider one was made assuming the comet would be visible in binoculars, the other goes deeper and fainter.
Please let us know if you find 252P. Those of us under the clouds would love to know better what to expect. Good luck!