This post is now outdated. Please click here for current viewing information.Until recently, Northern Hemisphere comet watchers have enjoyed viewing Comet Lovejoy riding high in a dark sky, but with a Moon a day after full, lunar glow is a problem. Nevertheless, the comet’s easily found in small telescopes.
The fifth comet discovery of Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy on 17th August 2014, it quickly became apparent that this was a long-period comet with a high orbital inclination of 80°, but this isn’t its first visit to the Sun.
Observers using GoTo telescopes or instruments equipped with digital setting circles can use the following nightly equatorial coordinates to find Comet Lovejoy quickly:
4th February at 7 pm GMT — α = 2h 07.8m δ = +42°21′ (J2000.0)
Observers with binoculars and portable telescopes should seek out a dark, safe location with an unobstructed view of the southern sky — preferably with the Moon hidden behind a wall or building. The best time to observe in the UK is 7 pm GMT when the comet will be highest above the horizon at the time twilight ends.
With the glow of a Moon one day after full, Comet Lovejoy is only visible in binoculars or telescopes. Use the lowest power eyepiece you have when observing with a telescope. C/2014 Q2 lies in a star-studded field just ¾° west of beautiful 2nd-magnitude double star γ Andromedae (otherwise known as Almach) tonight. The star and comet will be in the same field of view using instruments at 50x magnification or less.
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