Finding Comet Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy is now high in the sky if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere (which the folks at SUSF are…) and it just reached its closest point to Earth on January 7th, 2015 so we highly recommend that you grab 20 of your closest friends and go outside and see this beautiful green comet. The comet was discovered by Terry Lovejoy of Australia, and it is his fifth comet discovered to date.

Where to Look

Comet LJRight now (January 9) Comet Lovejoy is passing on the Rigel and Bellatrix side of Orion but not yet reaching the Pleiades. As you can see from the chart, the comet rises very quickly to the side of Orion. It will continue to rise rapidly, taking it farther from the horizon each night, but it will also continue to travel farther and farther from the Earth in space, every day. The comet’s position in relation to the horizon, the bright moon, and its actual distance from Earth will affect how it appears, as will the observer’s latitude.

Because of the comet’s changing position, we recommend taking a look at it several times over the next few weeks. I personally will be checking it out with my binoculars every evening. Bright comets are few and far between for the average American, so I recommend getting your money’s worth!

I was able to see Comet Lovejoy this evening, and it is a large and beautiful piece of green fuzz in a 14-inch Schmidt Cassegrain. It also easily visible in a large pair of binoculars, but it is not as striking as it was in the telescope.

Interested parties are invited to come to the Ashcroft Observatory this Monday at 7pm for free to see this impressive comet through a 14-inch telescope.

 

 

 

 

 

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