A new comet for the Winter – December 26, 2014

There is a new comet rising above the southern horizon each night now…it’s name is Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2).

For now, due to the rather low altitude above the horizon, it can be only glimpsed in binoculars or a small instrument, but in about one week, the view will improve. It already reached Mag. +5, so it’s a naked eye object, theoretically at least.

My first and only attempt at this “Winter Comet” was conducted in the night of December 24th, with the 4.5″ APO Refractor and Canon 550D at the focal plane. Fifty frames, each a 20 second exposure at ISO 3200, were combined into the following B-W image.

Q2 BW

The comet’s double tail is faintly visible, but this will change soon, clear skies permitting.

I’ve also assembled a small 30-minutes animation showing the rapid movement of the comet among the stars:

Q2 half an hour

The estimated visual magnitude using a 8×50 finderscope was +5.

Under dark skies and with the comet higher in the sky, the view of this greenish object should be superb.

Max

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