Author Topic: OR: Comet Lovejoy Christmas Eve  (Read 1658 times)

ahighe

  • Observer
  • Posts: 18
    • View Profile
OR: Comet Lovejoy Christmas Eve
« on: December 24, 2014, 11:14:45 PM »
I didn't see the sun all day today from the Sierra Foothills outside Mariposa. Dense, gray clouds threatened rain. They made good on that threat starting around 4PM, coming down at a pretty good rate. Decided to peek outside around 10:30PM and was surprised to see a completely clear sky with stars to the horizon. Brought out the 10 x 42 binos to look for comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2). Turned out to be quite easy - a bright fuzzy ball. Once I knew where to look, I could even pick it up intermittently naked eye with averted vision. Looking forward to seeing it brighten.

Spent the next half hour touring bright favorites. Peaceful. Fun.

Happy holidays everyone.
Albert

Marko

  • Administrator
  • Observer
  • *****
  • Posts: 126
    • View Profile
    • Marko's Astronomy Site
Re: OR: Comet Lovejoy Christmas Eve
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2014, 12:51:56 AM »
Albert,  you inspired me for another look at comet Lovejoy.  Since it was after 12 I guess it was a christmas sighting.   I went to a nearby park with great south to south-west horizon and easily spotted it.   After going home I realized it was easily seen from my back yard also in 'sodium light district' as it's fairly high and ideally placed for best viewing horizon from my small back yard.  The small field trip was not required.   At this time if you draw a line from Alpha Columba (a mag 2.7 star that is naked eye even in modest west san jose sodium light district) then move NE through mu Columba, mag 5.4, then continue on that line for the same distance (about 2 deg) it is viewed perhaps a half degree south of a mag 6.4 GSC 7057:1055 but it is a simple bino target.  Some core brightening is evident with faint fading glow and it may be 15' or so of glow.   Was not able to detect a tail in the light of this area.
Let me roam the deep skies and I'll be content.

ahighe

  • Observer
  • Posts: 18
    • View Profile
Re: OR: Comet Lovejoy Christmas Eve
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2014, 10:11:20 AM »
Hi Mark,

I'm not sure the comet merits traveling anywhere at Midnight, but I'm happy I encouraged you to look.

I returned to Redwood City Christmas Day. At 11PM I took a peek by just opening my back door - can't get much lazier than that! The sky was clear, but, of course, significantly brighter. Using 8 x 42 binos, the comet was visible with direct vision as an indistinct haze. Should be visible from most spots in the Bay Area. But it certainly appeared MUCH better from dark skies.

Albert

Marko

  • Administrator
  • Observer
  • *****
  • Posts: 126
    • View Profile
    • Marko's Astronomy Site
Re: OR: Comet Lovejoy Christmas Eve
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2014, 02:59:14 PM »
I usually follow the easy comets anyway with this one I first viewed at Montebello with several TACos this last Monday night.   Last night it had moved another 2 degrees or so per bino viewing from back yard.
I had only gone to a local park Christmas Eve/Christmas morning so it was not much of  a trip.
Take care,
Marko
Let me roam the deep skies and I'll be content.

DDK

  • Moderator
  • Observer
  • *****
  • Posts: 338
    • View Profile
Re: OR: Comet Lovejoy Christmas Eve
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2014, 12:17:44 AM »
So, Monday night we were astonished to see a sky of stars overhead, been a while. Just after sunset, while the brighter stars were popping up, there was a bright red star way to the South, over the back fence. Lessee, sez I, there's the Great Square, so that's Fomalhaut down there, Pisces Austrinus, and that bright star is in Capricornus. Had to be Mars, and it was!

Had the finderchart for Comet Lovejoy printed up, but waited too long that night. Tuesday night I got a reprieve, more stars! Lovejoy as you all have noted is easy in binocs. A bright splash of an uneven oval in 10x50's. Will keep following it.

Dew has been vicious in the backyard all week. And in more beautiful news, Liam is visiting over Christmas. So while some of the buddies were chasing down UGC galaxies and a galaxy a billion lightyears away, ole DDK has been cruising fancy Messier open clusters with the trusty 10x50's out back. Along with the big 4 that've been mentioned, there's also Paul Sterngold's favorite, M41 in Canis Major, splashy.

Merry Continuing Christmas to all and every. Now we have 10 days left to Epiphany, big holiday in King Arthur's court. Hope to see you all in the dark in 2015.
Allabest,
DDK
TAC - astro anarchy at work <*>