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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Comet Lovejoy is Looking Very Good!

We were out with a group tonight and saw Comet Lovejoy/Q2 2014 for the first time. And Boy! is it looking good. Despite the full moon and winter haze in the sky is bright and easy to see. Once identified with binoculars I could just make it out with the naked eye! That probably makes it a 4th magnitude object, much brighter than I had expected. In fact Lovejoy is the best comet I have seen in over 10 years! In the binoculars it looked like a faint, fuzzy, greenish glow. In my telescope I could see the solid nucleus surrounded by the coma and just a hint of tail in the bright, moonlit sky.

It will continue to brighten throughout January, and once the full moon is out of the sky by January 9 it should be dazzling. Here, again, is a star chart with Comet Lovejoy's position marked for each night of January 2015. Be sure to go out an look for it. It is well placed in the night sky a few hours after sunset and for the rest of the night. Let us know if you see it and your impressions of it.

Comet Lovejoy should be an excellent sight in the Israeli sky once the moon is gone after January 9. Use this finder chart to see it. This is the sky in the Southeast and South a few hours after sunset. It is an easy binocular object now and may brighten to easy naked eye visibility as January progresses.  

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