Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

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mike a feist
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Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by mike a feist »

Saturday 3rd January 2015: I was surprised to find the sky was actually clear at 2110UT although the almost Full Moon was "a hand-span+fist" from the location of Comet Lovejoy. Using 10x50 Hawke monocular, I worked from the quadrilateral of stars, below Rigel, consisting of 3 (iota), 4 (kappa), 6 (lambda) & 7 (nu) Leporis to 64 Eridani to the pair of stars including 53 (iota) Eridani and up about 2 degrees + to an unlabelled variable star. The fuzzy patch with indistinct edge and brighter centre was to to left of this and quite obvious despite the moonlit sky. I also used a newly acquired Opticron IS60 zoom spotting scope (x18-x54) in which it was well shown. Final view was had at 2255UT and by then much movement since earlier was obvious. [Obs #6] Regards maf
Gregger
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by Gregger »

A surprisingly easy bag last night despite the near full on moon and the orange glowvof Burton on Trent
Easily found below Orion following a line from Lepus with the Canon 12 50mm
Followed up with Quantum 100mm at 20x. A noticeable central core with no clear tailing.
I have put my brief sketch in the gallery
Will be interesting to follow, weather permitting

http://forum.popastro.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=19268
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Alastair McBeath
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by Alastair McBeath »

Yes, I picked up "the" comet of the moment for the first time this year last night as well (Jan 3-4) in the 7x50s, between 22:10-22:20 UT, despite the nearly full Moon standing relatively not far "above" it. Seemed quite similar to my last sighting in late December, maybe magnitude +5.5 to +5.8 or so, a rounded misty patch with a brighter, almost starlike, central condensation and the hint of an elongation on its eastern side.

More successful than my subsequent extended sky-checking for any Quadrantid meteors, though after more than an hour of sky-gazing at various times in ten to twenty minute spells, I finally spotted a couple of shower meteors between 01:45-02:05. The limiting magnitude was poor all night thanks to the Moon though, at barely +4.8 to +4.9, with some light haze, and occasional spells with ropes and banks of thin cloud drifting by.
Alastair McBeath
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by Alastair McBeath »

My impression last night (Jan 4-5, 21:55-22:10 UT) was Comet Lovejoy was somewhat easier to see than the night before, despite the Moon being nearer full, albeit marginally further away. The coma seemed perhaps as bright as magnitude +5.4 to +5.6, still for me with a hint of elongation on its eastern side in the 7x50s. It seemed not far short of two-thirds of a degree in maximum size as well, using averted vision.
mike a feist
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by mike a feist »

Tuesday 6th January 2015; About 1800hrs UT ,initially Moon not up and sky very clear. Managed to locate Comet Loveday from bedroom window although soon needed to do into the garden. Easily located using 10x50 monocular and 8x30 Hensoldt and eventually found it in the Opticron IS 60 spotting scope at x18. Moon rose at 1850 although then went behind a conifer tree. Still in Eridanus, the comet made a very narrow isosceles triangle with Keid (omicron 2 - 40) and Beid (omicron 1 - 38) as the base. Appeared as a small hazy roundish obvious patch with indistinct edge and brighter core. Followed until 2000 and may check again later.[ Obs #7] regards maf
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by Alastair McBeath »

I managed an evening viewing of Comet Lovejoy yesterday (Jan 6-7) too, though later than Mike's, and shortly after moonrise, around 18:50-19:00 UT. The comet was, as usual lately, easy in the 7x50s, with its large, rounded coma about half a degree across, and its brighter starlike central condensation. When I first dropped onto it though, my initial impressions were there was a distinct straight tail to the coma's northeastern side, much more obvious than the vague elongation of the coma I'd noticed previously. This made the whole comet a little over a degree in maximum size. However, I couldn't confirm this suspected tail subsequently, even with averted vision and all the usual faint-detail-spotting tricks. The coma seemed brighter than at my previous viewing on Jan 4-5, so maybe magnitude +5.3 to +5.5, perhaps brighter, based on what I "guesstimated" then. However, the large coma size has made all my recent magnitude estimates even more uncertain than normal (I'm not the greatest at estimating comet magnitudes anyway!).

After the formal observation, I spent twenty minutes or so trying to see if I could spot the comet without optical aid. With the Moon steadily rising and haze thick enough to produce a weak corona around the Moon though, I struggled to find even the nearby fourth magnitude stars (like Omicron 1 & 2 and Nu Eridani), and the comet sadly remained elusive other than in the binoculars. Despite that, I was pleased I'd gone out when I had, as by my "usual" observing time recently, around 22h, the sky across the comet was generally cloudy, with clouds increasing overnight subsequently, so had I waited, I'd have likely seen nothing of it at all.
mike a feist
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by mike a feist »

Thursday, 8th January 2015: Clear sky and no Moon: Comet now only just below the celestial Equator and found as early as 1800, the nearest Flamsteed numbered star was 35 Eridani, and above that was a parallelogram of stars with the comet to the left, appearing as the usual fuzzy "ball" with indistinct edge and brighter core. Found from the back garden in the IS60 Omicron spotting scope and 7x50 Fujinon binoculars. The binoculars made locating quicker because of there much wider fov of about 7.5 degrees and I also tried using the pistol-grip mounted to them by a 90-degree adapter bracket. This worked well. I followed the comet on and off with this at 1830, 1900 and final at 2120 when the forecast clouds crept across the sky although for a while the field stars and the comet could be seen through bits of thin cloud. [Obs #8]. regards maf
Alastair McBeath
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by Alastair McBeath »

A brief clearer spell chanced-by during last night's part of the ongoing 2015 storm hereabouts (Jan 8-9; just three days without gale- to storm-force winds since the turn of the year so far, and no difference in the violence of the gusts tonight to last night so far...), so unexpectedly I managed another sighting of Comet Lovejoy around 23:10-23:25 UT with the 7x50 binoculars. The coma seemed about three-quarters of a degree in maximum dimension, rounded, misty, with a starlike central condensation, and a fainter elongation towards the northeast, out of which extended a still-fainter straight tail, increasing the overall size of coma plus tail to around 1.5°. The coma was in Eridanus still, but the end of this apparent tail structure was long enough to reach just over the border into Taurus. The Moon, though waning gibbous, continued to bleach-out the sky rather, aided by some haze, so the limiting magnitude was only +4.9. I wasn't able to find the comet without the binoculars, albeit the time available after finishing my optical-aid viewing was limited, as fresh thicker clouds were already hiding the key area by 23:25, and that was it for the night. So, I may just have missed the comet unaided (standing upright was tricky at times, given the strength of the wind!), or it may suggest the coma was perhaps fainter than magnitude +5.0.
brian livesey
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by brian livesey »

The comet might be passing through the particle flow of a CME ( Coronal Mass Ejection ), as there's a "plasma cloud" in the tail. Today's www.spaceweather.com .
brian
Brian
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by Brian »

10x50 Meade binoculars. 20h15UT.
My best view of C2014 Q2 so far tonight. Close to the pair nu and 40 Tau, with a bright circular coma, diameter approaching the separation of the pair of stars (40arcmin). Coma estimated at 3-3.5mag, grey, no tail seen.

A very nice comet!
Brian
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PaulB
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by PaulB »

Good morning,

I was also able to view this bright comet. I'm using 15x70 binoculars and found the comet quite easily between 19:00 and 19:30 (2015-01-09)

Like Brian. I saw the coma, but know tail.
I tried to see it visually. I thought I could see it with averted vision, but I wasn't sure.

Now the Moon has gone. I think a trip to a darker site is in order.
Paul Anthony Brierley
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Macclesfield Astronomical Society
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Alastair McBeath
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by Alastair McBeath »

Last night's game of "dodge the clouds" (Jan 10-11) was a little less windswept than during my previous Comet Lovejoy sighting, and more successful in that I finally managed to glimpse the comet without optical aid at the end of the observation, between 18:05-18:20 UT, and just before the clouds took over its piece of sky! It was about magnitude +5.0 from my naked-eye view, so was best with averted vision, but the convenient signposts of stars Nu and 40 Tauri left little doubt I had indeed spotted the comet. With the 7x50s, the comet was as easy as usual in recent times, a large, rounded misty patch, and although its northeastern side seemed particularly diffuse and ill-defined, I struggled to see anything of the straight tail that had seemed so relatively obvious, if faint, on Jan 8-9. I also found the central condensation in the coma less starlike than previously, the coma itself looking marginally smaller as well, about half a degree across or a little less. However, its diffuseness towards the "left-hand edge" made this estimate difficult, and at times seemed to extend that part of the comet - perhaps as a loose "tail" structure - up to two degrees in its overall longest dimension, though I really couldn't be sure about this, despite the absence of the Moon for once. Hopes I might have a better unaided view later were thwarted by persistent clouds and increasing rain, until too late to try for the comet.
mike a feist
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by mike a feist »

Saturday 10th January 2015. 1745 onwards. Transparency was rather poor but the comet was immediately located in 7x50 Fujinon binocular (+ pistol-grip etc) from the garden. Easiest way to locate is now via Aldebaran, the Hyades end star gamma pointing to lambda Tauri. Down to the left is a small "snake" of stars including 47, mu and 46 Tauri and to the right an obvious pair, nu (35) and 40 Tauri and to the right of these is the comet appearing as the usual fuzzy, indistinct "ball" with brighter centre. In fact it is so obvious that all you really need to do is roughly scan the lower part of Taurus and "there it is". Worsening of the transparency at 1930 was not a geat problem as I could see the comet through the thin clouds and it did improve a bit latter on. [Obs #9] regards maf
Gregger
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by Gregger »

Yes, I too had a great observing session Saturday with a daylight observation of Venus followed by observing the Venus/Mercury conjunction in the same filed of view with visual observation of both too
Later, Lovejoy was a lovely view as it rose above my neighbours roof and made a fine sketch
Clearly visible with averted naked eye
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nigeljoslin
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Re: Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 New Year Comet

Post by nigeljoslin »

At last....no moon and the end of the relentless cloud attack! Moreover, seeing was good. So, I turned the 14" Dob towards Taurus and squinted through the 10x50 finder to be rewarded by what looked like a close galaxy.

Transferring my eye to the main optical tube, which was fitted with my lowest power eyepiece giving 66x magnification, revealed a comet of surprisingly large coma (aprox. half a degree) and a bright nucleus. The coma had a surprisingly pleasant pale green appearance. Looking on the internet this morning, I see that the greenness is due to the fluorescing of cyanogen and diatomic carbon molecules.

I noticed that the leading edge of the coma was fantailling and there seemed to be at least two faint tails, a long, thin main tail and some broader fanning out closer to the coma. The fanning out seemed to cover quite a wide area, maybe 90 degrees. Beautiful, well worth the wait.
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