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Comet Lovejoy due to be visible soon.


skp51443

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I saw this article and thought some folks might like to take a look at the comet later this month. Sounds interesting and it won't be back for 8000 years so it is now or never.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/01/10/comet_lovejoys_green_glow/

Lovejoy, named after the Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy (who has five comets to his name), crosses the celestial equator on Saturday night, meaning it can best be seen from the Northern hemisphere. It's about 70,200,000 kilometers (43,600,000 miles) away at the moment and gets its greenish glow from diatomic carbon gas fluorescing in the sun's light.

The comet is still falling towards Sol at present and will reach its closest point to our neighborhood star (the perihelion) on January 30 before heading out into space again. After that closish encounter it will gradually grow dimmer and be lost.

Comet C/2014 Q2 is a very rare visitor – the last time it was in our neck of the woods was 11,000 years ago and it won't be back for another 8,000 after interacting with the gravity of objects in the Solar System which have tweaked its orbit slightly.

The comet can be found just beyond the belt of Orion, and is now in the constellation Taurus. It should be visible to the naked eye, but star fans get a much better view of it with a telescope or good pair of binoculars



comet_lovejoy1.jpg

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Last night was clear at Camas Meadows. So I put on the snowshoes and walked into the meadow where I could spot the comet. It was easily visible in binoculars. Once you could find it with binoculars, it is barely visible with the naked eye. There was a faint tail visible in the binoculars.

For those NOT into astronomy it is a gray smudge in the sky. However, if you have a digital camera stick it on a tripod crank up the ISO to max and take a 30 second exposure.

You should be able to see it from the city in 7X50 binoculars.

Here is a link to more info on the comet that normal people can understand. There is a constellation map and photo's of the comet.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/spot-comet-lovejoy-tonight-122920141/

Now all we need is more clear nights!!
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