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Sat, 23 Nov 2013 - Comet Lovejoy : easier to find than ISON!

Although Comet 2012 S1 ISON has been receiving most of the attention and lots of media hype, there is another bright comet on view that deserves more attention.

Comet 2013 R1 Lovejoy was discovered at 14th magnitude by Terry Lovejoy in early September. At the time, the expectations were that the comet would only reach 8th magnitude by late November, making it a rather difficult binocular target in the moonlit skies.

However, the comet has greatly exceeded expectations and has recently been around 5th magnitude, making it an easy binocular target. Indeed, prior to the Full Moon of Nov 17th, there were a few reports of the comet being visible with the naked eye.

This image of comet Lovejoy was captured by Robin Scagell on 2013 Nov 20 using a 80mm refractor and Atik 314 L CCD:   

The comet will remain visible in the coming weeks as it approaches perihelion on December 25th. The finder chart below shows its motion in late November and early December as it moves from Canes Venatici into northern Bootes. The comet is visible low in the north west at the start of the night, passes very low through the northern sky later in the evening and then becomes better placed in the north east after midnight, becoming higher in the sky by dawn.


Added by: Robin Scagell