Finding Comet Lovejoy
January 6, 2015
Comet Lovejoy is gracing our skies and with a weather forecast showing clear skies, it’s a great time to step outside with a pair of binoculars and take a look at the comet.
Comet Lovejoy was discovered in August 2014 by the comet hunter, Terry Lovejoy. Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is visible to the naked eye in good viewing conditions but is not very bright. With light pollution and a bright Moon, it will be challenging to spot without binoculars or a telescope; to the naked eye it will look like a faint star slowly moving northward.
Like most comets, it has a highly elliptical orbit and was last in the inner solar system around 11,000 years ago!
You can find a useful chart from Sky and Telescope here. It puts the position of the comet in relation to Orion’s Belt, an easy constellation to find in the summer night sky. Or, come along to Stardome to one of our night sky shows and we’ll show you the comet through one of our telescopes.
Image credit: NASA/MSFC/MEO/Aaron Kingery