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> Comet Lovejoy; C/2014 Q2, Viewing: Dec-April; peak~ Jan
MaineJay
post Dec 16 2014, 05:48 AM
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Looks like a decent comet to view, hopefully this gives me a reason to get out there.


QUOTE
The latest Comet Lovejoy should reach at least 5th magnitude in late December and January, when it will be nicely placed high in the dark for your binoculars or telescope. And it may be detectable with the naked eye.
Update Dec. 15: Comet Lovejoy is brightening faster than expected. Last night it was visual magnitude 6.1, estimated veteran comet observer Alan Hale using 1050 binoculars in a post to the Yahoo Groups Comet Mailing List. The comey was very low in his sky.
From Australia, where the comet currently passes overhead, David Seargent says that on December 13th he "just managed to glimpse 2014 Q2 naked eye in a very clear sky. I estimated it at mag. 6.1 and at 6.2 with 225 opera glasses." Then on the 14th: "Much easier to see naked eye than 24 hours earlier, and estimated as bright as 5.5! I don't think that I have ever seen a comet brighten so fast!" That same night Michael Mattiazzo in Australia estimated it at 6.0, and Paul Camilleri said 5.7.


Attached Image
Attached Image


QUOTE
A Comet of the High Dark

"Comet Q2," as some are calling it, will skim through Columba south of Orion and Lepus from the nights of December 16th through the 26th, brightening all the while, as shown on the finder charts for December and January below and on the print-friendly versions here: December, January. The dates on the charts are in Universal Time, and the ticks are for 0:00 UT.
The comet spends the last few days of December in Lepus at perhaps 6th magnitude, though by then the light of the waxing Moon (at first quarter on the 28th) will start to be an annoyance. On New Year's Eve, a little after January 1st Universal Time, look for the comet just off Lepus's forehead as shown on the charts.
The Moon brightens to become full on January 4th. Most of us won't get a dark moonless view again until early in the evening of January 7th, with the comet now crossing northernmost Eridanus. That's the same day it passes closest by Earth: at a distance of 0.47 a.u (44 million miles; 70 million km). That's also about when it should start glowing brightest for its best two weeks, as it crosses Taurus and Aries high in early evening.
By then the comet is starting to recede into the distance, but its intrinsic brightness should still be increasing a bit; it doesn't reach perihelion until January 30th, at a rather distant 1.29 a.u. from the Sun. By that date the comet should be starting to fade slightly from Earth's point of view. In February it will continue north between Andromeda and Perseus as it fades further, on its way to passing very close to Polaris late next May when it should again be very faint.
Originally Comet Q2 wasn't expected to become this bright. We're basing these predictions on an analysis by J. P. Navarro Pina in late November using the comet's visual behavior for the previous several weeks. Whether it will continue to brighten on schedule is anybody's guess, but the odds are good; comets that don't come near the Sun are more predictable in their brightnesses than those that do.
Q2 is a very long-period comet, but this is not its first time coming through the inner solar system. On the way in, its path showed an orbital period of roughly 11,500 years. Slight perturbations by the planets during this apparition will alter the orbit a bit, so that it will next return in about 8,000 years.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-n...ovejoy-1211142/


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MaineJay
post Jan 2 2015, 06:26 AM
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Skies should be clear, and with temps dropping to near zero it should be fun, but I'm going to do my best to get a picture of this baby tonight!!

Incredible

Attached Image

QUOTE
THE INCREDIBLE TAIL OF COMET LOVEJOY: Warning: Looking at this picture might cause you to buy a telescope. Ready? Here is bright Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2), photographed by amateur astronomer Gerald Rhemann on Dec. 23rd

To capture the image, Rhemann used a 12-inch remotely controlled telescope in Namibia. Lovejoy's sinuous blue tail was so long (more than 6 degrees of arc) he couldn't fit it into a single field of view. "I had to combine six frames," he says. In fact, it is even too big for this web page. Click on the truncated tail, above, to see the whole thing.

He took the picture more than a week ago. The comet is significantly brighter now. Observers around the world are saying they can see it with the unaided eye from dark sky sites. The comet is shining like a 5th magnitude star, and is expected to double in brightness by mid-January. To the naked eye, it looks like a green fuzzball. Mid-sized backyard telescopes reveal the comet's magnificent blue tail.

Observers should look for the comet passing through the constellation Lepus south of Orion. Consult these finder charts from Sky & Telescope. For accurate pointing of telescopes, an ephemeris from the Minor Planet Center is available.

http://spaceweather.com

This post has been edited by MaineJay: Jan 2 2015, 06:27 AM


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Undertakerson
post Jan 2 2015, 07:41 AM
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QUOTE(MaineJay @ Jan 2 2015, 06:26 AM) *
Skies should be clear, and with temps dropping to near zero it should be fun, but I'm going to do my best to get a picture of this baby tonight!!

Incredible

Attached Image
http://spaceweather.com

Making plans with my young Niece to use that Christmas telescope tonight. Hopefully, city light pollution and the waxing FM won't be too hard on us.

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MaineJay
post Jan 3 2015, 07:15 AM
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QUOTE(Undertakerson @ Jan 2 2015, 07:41 AM) *
Making plans with my young Niece to use that Christmas telescope tonight. Hopefully, city light pollution and the waxing FM won't be too hard on us.


Thanks for swinging in UTS! No one whining about winter in here cool.gif

Sweet, I got my nephew a scope last Christmas. That moon was tough, I'm looking forward to getting out there in a couple weeks. I did venture out last night, but it was like an episode of Dorf goes stargazing. Where do I begin, I get set up down the lake (we'll get to this poor decision), and the batteries in the telescope are dead. Whatever, it's a between 2-3 minutes drive from my house, no biggie. But I had everything all set up, and couldn't get anyone to tough out the mid teen temperatures. So pick everything up I did, headed home to some playful ribbing from Mrs MJ, grabbed batteries, and straight back out to the shores of Crescent Lake, my other blunder.


Attached Image


I truly enjoy being all bundled up on the edge of the lake, listening to the eerie fractures as they groan, and release their stress in those "pwings" that sound like someone hitting a heavy wire. Unfortunately, I didn't take into account the vibrations that were just about constant. Long-story-short I couldn't get a fix on the comet, honestly the telescope didn't like the cold and so I turned it to Jupiter in the eastern sky, and got a few pics of that.

My best
Attached Image

The other reasons the lake was a poor choice, very cold, also, there are several small creeks that are still running high that drain into the lake, enough so that there was a tiny bit of moisture around. Will just try to shoot the comet from the backyard I think.

I did bring out my Nikon, and with my widest aperture, captured a couple shots, including what I believe is Lovejoy! I didn't even know till I got home and looked at the pictures, tough finding focus, but hit on some.

Orion's belt visible in the upper left corner


Raw, unedited

Attached Image


Layered two pictures, and played with levels

Attached Image


Close up
Attached Image

This post has been edited by MaineJay: Jan 3 2015, 07:30 AM


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vomit
post Jan 3 2015, 10:15 PM
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QUOTE(MaineJay @ Jan 3 2015, 07:15 AM) *
Thanks for swinging in UTS! No one whining about winter in here cool.gif

Sweet, I got my nephew a scope last Christmas. That moon was tough, I'm looking forward to getting out there in a couple weeks. I did venture out last night, but it was like an episode of Dorf goes stargazing. Where do I begin, I get set up down the lake (we'll get to this poor decision), and the batteries in the telescope are dead. Whatever, it's a between 2-3 minutes drive from my house, no biggie. But I had everything all set up, and couldn't get anyone to tough out the mid teen temperatures. So pick everything up I did, headed home to some playful ribbing from Mrs MJ, grabbed batteries, and straight back out to the shores of Crescent Lake, my other blunder.


Attached Image


I truly enjoy being all bundled up on the edge of the lake, listening to the eerie fractures as they groan, and release their stress in those "pwings" that sound like someone hitting a heavy wire. Unfortunately, I didn't take into account the vibrations that were just about constant. Long-story-short I couldn't get a fix on the comet, honestly the telescope didn't like the cold and so I turned it to Jupiter in the eastern sky, and got a few pics of that.

My best
Attached Image

The other reasons the lake was a poor choice, very cold, also, there are several small creeks that are still running high that drain into the lake, enough so that there was a tiny bit of moisture around. Will just try to shoot the comet from the backyard I think.

I did bring out my Nikon, and with my widest aperture, captured a couple shots, including what I believe is Lovejoy! I didn't even know till I got home and looked at the pictures, tough finding focus, but hit on some.

Orion's belt visible in the upper left corner
Raw, unedited

Attached Image


Layered two pictures, and played with levels

Attached Image


Close up
Attached Image



GREAT WORK!!!!

I, myself, have not been out in some time. I will be taking a look for this comet this week, as long as the demon-clouds stay away!

Happy New Years! Clear skies.


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Undertakerson
post Jan 4 2015, 05:32 AM
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QUOTE(MaineJay @ Jan 3 2015, 07:15 AM) *
Thanks for swinging in UTS! No one whining about winter in here cool.gif

Sweet, I got my nephew a scope last Christmas. That moon was tough, I'm looking forward to getting out there in a couple weeks. I did venture out last night, but it was like an episode of Dorf goes stargazing. Where do I begin, I get set up down the lake (we'll get to this poor decision), and the batteries in the telescope are dead. Whatever, it's a between 2-3 minutes drive from my house, no biggie. But I had everything all set up, and couldn't get anyone to tough out the mid teen temperatures. So pick everything up I did, headed home to some playful ribbing from Mrs MJ, grabbed batteries, and straight back out to the shores of Crescent Lake, my other blunder.


Attached Image


I truly enjoy being all bundled up on the edge of the lake, listening to the eerie fractures as they groan, and release their stress in those "pwings" that sound like someone hitting a heavy wire. Unfortunately, I didn't take into account the vibrations that were just about constant. Long-story-short I couldn't get a fix on the comet, honestly the telescope didn't like the cold and so I turned it to Jupiter in the eastern sky, and got a few pics of that.

My best
Attached Image

The other reasons the lake was a poor choice, very cold, also, there are several small creeks that are still running high that drain into the lake, enough so that there was a tiny bit of moisture around. Will just try to shoot the comet from the backyard I think.

I did bring out my Nikon, and with my widest aperture, captured a couple shots, including what I believe is Lovejoy! I didn't even know till I got home and looked at the pictures, tough finding focus, but hit on some.

Orion's belt visible in the upper left corner
Raw, unedited

Attached Image


Layered two pictures, and played with levels

Attached Image


Close up
Attached Image


I don't complain - well, except for complaining about complainers tongue.gif

Thanks for sharing those images. Ally and I did not make it out (young teenaged girls have many options and hanging with their favorite Uncle sometimes loses out when compared to other "girly" choices) But she does want to go out with the new scope - so she has promised me that we will get out.
Since this comet will be around for a while yet (as most are) we should get a chance by and by.

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MaineJay
post Jan 4 2015, 10:43 AM
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QUOTE(vomit @ Jan 3 2015, 10:15 PM) *
GREAT WORK!!!!

I, myself, have not been out in some time. I will be taking a look for this comet this week, as long as the demon-clouds stay away!

Happy New Years! Clear skies.


Thanks vomit! Same to you.

I can't be 100% sure that I identified Lovejoy, but it's certainly "fuzzier" than any other point of light. Just nice to feel like my adventure was constructive. Can't wait till the clouds clear, with the coldest nights of the season coming up, it'll be challenging, but I'm think I'm up for it.

QUOTE(Undertakerson @ Jan 4 2015, 05:32 AM) *
I don't complain - well, except for complaining about complainers tongue.gif

Thanks for sharing those images. Ally and I did not make it out (young teenaged girls have many options and hanging with their favorite Uncle sometimes loses out when compared to other "girly" choices) But she does want to go out with the new scope - so she has promised me that we will get out.
Since this comet will be around for a while yet (as most are) we should get a chance by and by.


My pleasure Uncle Bill tongue.gif, didn't surprise me you are the favorite uncle. I got the feeling all the whining in the forums was getting under your skin, and I feel the same way. Hope that my pictures help to locate the comet, so long as I'm accurate in my assessment. I'll certainly try to continue to track the fuzzy green spot. With Lovejoy getting higher in the sky, once the moon wanes we *should* get better viewing. Nice to know your niece has an interest, I very much enjoy bringing science to people, especially young ones, as much as my abilities allow.


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The Solar Eclipse is coming!! Thread

"z = z2 + c" - Benoit Mandelbrot

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein
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vomit
post Jan 7 2015, 06:23 AM
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I saw the comet last night! hooray! Just a wee too cold to stay outside for any length of time (was 2F). But it was a fuzzy green "star" in the binos. So I looked at my records last night and these are the comets I have been priviledged to see:

Halley, '86
Hyakutake, '96
Hale-Bopp, '97
Ikeya, '02
Holmes, '07
Lovejoy, '15


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MaineJay
post Jan 8 2015, 06:35 AM
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QUOTE(vomit @ Jan 7 2015, 06:23 AM) *
I saw the comet last night! hooray! Just a wee too cold to stay outside for any length of time (was 2F). But it was a fuzzy green "star" in the binos. So I looked at my records last night and these are the comets I have been priviledged to see:

Halley, '86
Hyakutake, '96
Hale-Bopp, '97
Ikeya, '02
Holmes, '07
Lovejoy, '15


Sweet! This is the first comet that I have ever actively tried to see. I remember Hyakutake, Hale-Bopp, and Halley, but never made attempts to see them, my interest has grown considerably. I should have got out last night, but the winds were robust, and rapidly dropping temps were too much, I can handle the cold, until the winds blow. -13 now. I'll get out there over the next couple weeks. Take care!


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"z = z2 + c" - Benoit Mandelbrot

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein
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MaineJay
post Jan 16 2015, 05:44 AM
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Ok, clock is ticking on this baby. Clouds have been awful persistent, the one night it was clear, it was around 0, and I was under the weather, just couldn't get out there. Really hoping for clear sites the next few nights. Get out there if you want to see the comet! It's at it's brightest NOW!!

QUOTE
COMET LOVEJOY AND THE PLEIADES: This is a good time to look at Comet Lovejoy, which is reaching maximum brightness as mid-January passes. Experienced observers say the comet is now shining like a star of magnitude +3.8. In other words, it is an easy target for binoculars and visible to the unaided eye from dark-sky sites. Last night, Jan. 15th, Alan Dyer of Silver City, New Mexico, photographed the comet passing by the Pleiades star cluster:


Attached Image

QUOTE
This gives backyard sky watchers a point of comparison: If you can see the Pleiades, you can probably see the comet, too.

"Comet Lovejoy's long blue ion tail has really developed nicely and now forms a photogenic pairing with the blue Pleiades," says Dyer. "I shot this using a 135mm telephoto lens to provide a wide binocular-class field of view. The next few nights are likely to be the best for Comet Lovejoy, with it now at its brightest, the tail the longest, and the sky at its darkest with no Moon. Plus we can enjoy the comet's proximity to the Pleiades. Terry Lovejoy's comet is now high in the sky at nightfall for us in the northern hemisphere. Perfect comet-viewing conditions, if your skies are clear!"

Need help finding the comet? Check these finder charts from Sky & Telescope. Also, the Minor Planet Center has published an ephemeris for accurate pointing of telescopes.

http://spaceweather.com


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"z = z2 + c" - Benoit Mandelbrot

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein
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Undertakerson
post Jan 16 2015, 06:21 AM
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QUOTE(MaineJay @ Jan 16 2015, 05:44 AM) *
Ok, clock is ticking on this baby. Clouds have been awful persistent, the one night it was clear, it was around 0, and I was under the weather, just couldn't get out there. Really hoping for clear sites the next few nights. Get out there if you want to see the comet! It's at it's brightest NOW!!
Attached Image
http://spaceweather.com

Thanks for the update MJ - I'll have to pull up the sky chart to see if the 7 Sisters are within my horizon.

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MaineJay
post Jan 16 2015, 06:33 AM
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QUOTE(Undertakerson @ Jan 16 2015, 06:21 AM) *
Thanks for the update MJ - I'll have to pull up the sky chart to see if the 7 Sisters are within my horizon.


My pleasure, I know they are high in the sky at my house, moon phase is cooperative too, I'll be out there if it's clear.


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"z = z2 + c" - Benoit Mandelbrot

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MaineJay
post Jan 16 2015, 08:37 PM
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Woohoo!

Gonna go out for some more once it's below zero, 8 for these pics cool.gif

Attached Image


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"z = z2 + c" - Benoit Mandelbrot

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein
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MaineJay
post Jan 16 2015, 10:01 PM
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Here's a pic from round 2, I'll try to get out one more time before Lovejoy drops below the trees. I need to learn how to process images better.

Edit: I should add the equipment used
Nikon D3100
Nikon 35mm f/1.8
I found 5 second exposure with ISO set at 3200 yielded the best results for me.


Attached Image




This post has been edited by MaineJay: Jan 17 2015, 07:39 AM


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vomit
post Jan 17 2015, 07:39 AM
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QUOTE(MaineJay @ Jan 16 2015, 10:01 PM) *
Here's a pic from round 2, I'll try to get out one more time before Lovejoy drops below the trees. I need to learn how to process images better.


Attached Image



Sweet! I am impressed! keep up the great work. Went outside last night.....clouded out, as usual.


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MaineJay
post Jan 17 2015, 07:44 AM
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QUOTE(vomit @ Jan 17 2015, 07:39 AM) *
Sweet! I am impressed! keep up the great work. Went outside last night.....clouded out, as usual.


Thanks! I actually impressed myself. I have no photographic training, I pick up tips on the way, and feel trial and error works fine for me. smile.gif I'm limited by my 14.2mp dx format camera, and lenses, the newer models I guess have really nice super high ISO, but I can't afford to chase technology,. I'm considering renting an fx format camera and wide aperture telephoto to push my limits however.


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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein
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Undertakerson
post Jan 17 2015, 09:35 AM
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I'll be out there tonight - I hope the P cloudy conditions cooperate wink.gif


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vomit
post Jan 17 2015, 04:52 PM
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QUOTE(MaineJay @ Jan 17 2015, 07:44 AM) *
Thanks! I actually impressed myself. I have no photographic training, I pick up tips on the way, and feel trial and error works fine for me. smile.gif I'm limited by my 14.2mp dx format camera, and lenses, the newer models I guess have really nice super high ISO, but I can't afford to chase technology,. I'm considering renting an fx format camera and wide aperture telephoto to push my limits however.


You're gonna have to head to Michigan's UP and give me a tutorial!


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Undertakerson
post Jan 17 2015, 06:37 PM
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Scattered high clouds are playing peek a boo with Lovejoy and my viewing location. Just when I get a good fix on it, another wisp of high level cirrus moves over and it's gone again for a few minutes. Not too bad conditions otherwise - 25F no wind, still chilly as all get out. Good thing Mrs. UTS is the tough gal she is.
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Undertakerson
post Jan 17 2015, 08:56 PM
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Skies cleared nicely and I got as good a view as my binoculars would allow. But even better - a horizon wide fireball blazed the sky from northwest to southwest at about 33 degrees in me and the Mrs. line of sight.

It lasted about 4-5 seconds and started bright and then "flared up" as it reached the bottom of its arc before fading as it disappeared on the sw horizon. Time spotted was 8:44 give or take a minute.

We go on walks at 5 a.m. most weekdays and see fireballs a couple times a year, but none match this one for length of path and brightness. Very cool - a good omen, we say.
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