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January 9, 2015 January 10, 2015

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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Went out to see Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3) tonight using my 10×50 binoculars. It was very cold with a brisk wind, but the seeing was pretty good.

Found it directly several paces to the right of Mintaka (the right-most star of the trio in Orion’s belt). Look south a few hours after sunset and find Orion first to orient yourself. With the Hyades above, the three roughly traces a right-angle triangle, with Lovejoy at the bottom at the right hand side.

Immediate impressions were that it was very round. I couldn’t make out the tail of the comet so it seemed like a gray fuzzy object. Size seemed to be about a quarter to half the diameter of the orion nebula in the binocular’s FOV. The level of ‘grayness’ was similar to the orion nebula (about +4 magnitude according to online sources), but with a uniform glow to it.

Weather permitting I’ll try to see it with my 6″ dob in the next few nights, and see if I can make out the tail.

Lovejoy won’t be back for a long time. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a try!

Clear Skies!


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