Observing comet Lovejoy

Date: 30.11/1.12.2013
Time: 20:00-21:10
Observing site: Uittamo, Turku, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm

NELM: 5.3
SQM: 19.51
Darkness of the background sky: 4
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 1
Weather: Clear sky, -6 °C, calm, no Moon, no aurorae

Objects observed: C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy), R Lyr, mu Cep, rho Cas, Psi 1 Aur, eta Gem

Unfortunately comet ISON didn’t survive it’s close contact with our Sun, and now all that is left of it is just pile of gravel and sand! So ISON is officially dead now, R.I.P. ISON!

But whereas ISON might be dead, there’s another great comet visible in the northern sky! This comet hasn’t got as much media attention as ISON did, but it easily equals comet PanStarrs from spring 2013! This comet is comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy), and it’s well visible from northern latitudes, especially in morning sky!

I observed comet Lovejoy during the night between 30.11/1.12.2013 in Uittamo district of Turku. The comet was at low altitude (altitude only 13º), but I could still easily locate it with my humble 7×18 binoculars. With my small binos, the comet appeared as a dim, fuzzy “nebula”. I observed it properly with my 4” refractor @25x. The coma of the comet appeared as a round and diffuse “nebula” and there is a distinct central brightening in the center of the coma. The tail of the comet is excessively faint, and it is only visible with averted vision and sweeping. The tail is pointing to position angle ~340º. The length of the tail that was visually visible in these conditions was about 15′. Degree of condensation of the comet is about 7.

Lovejoy is already a fine comet easily visible with modest amateur instruments, so it’s worth of your attention! I’ll later write a post about how to find comet Lovejy!

Comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) in 30.11./1.12.2013
Comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) in 30.11./1.12.2013

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