Thursday, November 14, 2013

Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy makes an appearance as well as ISON
Comet Lovejoy is one of 4 comets currently visible in the sky  along with Comet ISON, C/2012 X1 Linear and Comet 2P/Enke.

The brightest and best placed comet for morning viewing is currently Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy. Shining at +6th magnitude, R1 Lovejoy just passed into the constellation Leo after a photogenic pass near the Beehive Cluster (M44) in Cancer last week.

Comet Lovejoy, formally designated C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy), is a long-period comet and Kreutz Sungrazer. It was discovered in November 2011 by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy. The comet's perihelion took it through the Sun's corona on 16 December 2011, after which it emerged intact and continued on its orbit to the outer Solar System.

As Comet Lovejoy was announced on the 16th anniversary of the SOHO satellite's launch it became known as "The Great Birthday Comet of 2011", and because it was visible from Earth during the Christmas holiday it was also nicknamed "The Great Christmas Comet of 2011"

In space, the comet first became visible to the STEREO-A spacecraft on 3 December, and to the SOHO spacecraft on 14 December. As the comet approached the Sun it was observed by eighteen instruments on six satellites: STEREO-A and -B, SOHO, SDO, Hinode and PROBA2.
Comet Lovejoy captured using T3 Itelescope by SPACE on Nov 12th 2013

Comet Lovejoy captured using T3 Itelescope by SPACE on Nov 12th 2013

Comet Lovejoy reached perihelion on 16 December 2011 at 00:17 UTC, as it passed approximately 140,000 kilometres (87,000 mi) above the Sun's surface. Before perihelion, the nucleus of Comet Lovejoy had been estimated to be between 100 and 200 metres (330 and 660 ft) in diameter. Since the comet survived perihelion, it is thought that the nucleus must have been larger, perhaps up to 500 metres (1,600 ft). During the coronal passage, it is believed that a significant fraction of the comet's mass was burned off.

Unlike comets Encke and ISON that are plunging near the Sun, Comet R1 Lovejoy never gets closer than 19 degrees elongation from our nearest star in late December. It also reaches a maximum northern declination of 43 degrees on November 28th, the same day that ISON reaches perihelion. For mid-latitude northern hemisphere observers, R1 Lovejoy will remain well placed at 35 to 45 degrees above the northeastern horizon about an hour before sunrise through late November.

Here are some key dates to aid you in your quest to spy Comet R1 Lovejoy in late November:
November 11th: Passes near +4.5 Kappa Leonis.
November 14th: Passes from Leo into the constellation Leo Minor & passes near the +5.3 star 20 Leonis Minoris.
November 16th: Passes near the +5th magnitude stars 28, 30, and 34 Leonis Minoris.
November 18th: Passes into the constellation Ursa Major.
November 19th: Passes near the +4.8 magnitude star 55 Ursae Majoris & +5.3 magnitude star 57 Ursae Majoris.
November 19th: Closest to Earth, at 0.4 AUs distant.

Path of Comet Lovejoy in the sky

No comments:

Post a Comment