View Full Version here: : Kreutz SunGrazer Lovejoy
08-12-2011, 05:15 AM
From Live Science update.
I reckon a few people will be watching this ,,...
08-12-2011, 06:39 AM
08-12-2011, 11:42 PM
Thanks for the link Brent. This is starting to get interesting, the comet appears to be developing very rapidly according to observations from South America. Lets hope this continues!
09-12-2011, 12:01 AM
Latest images from the FRAM Robotic telescope in Argentina:
The left image is Red light and the right image is blue light.
09-12-2011, 12:35 AM
Looking good Terry! Nice little tail. Interesting debate about how 'gaseous' the comet is. When you used your DSLR, did you consider the green/cyan response as a rough indicator of gaseousness? I've photographed a fair few now and the dusty ones tend to show as pale or white while the gaseous ones are green (and lots of variations in between). Your comet appeared quite green in my shots but I haven't seen any other RGB images of it. I realise that what they are talking about is a much stricter measure but it must be fairly gaseous at least??? Certainly not what I'd expect a dusty comet would show like anyway...:shrug:
Coming up to a very interesting time now as it hits the SOHO fields. :thumbsup:
EDIT: Just bye-the-bye, some reprocesses from 02 Dec images.
First, a video animation:
A composite, after cloning out interfering stars to get a comet-head stack, then layering it over a star stack:
Finally, a new image - forgot that I took 4 subs @ 1-min before I moved onto the two minute exposures. :rolleyes:
09-12-2011, 09:07 PM
The SOHO and other solar observing teams are really gearing up to make the most of this opportunity - even to the extent of altering/sacrificing some of their routine observations!
"1. STEREO/SECCHI: This will be the first spacecraft to get a clear view of the comet, and in fact it has been visible in our HI-2A imager for the past few days now, albeit faintly. As the comet approaches perihelion, we will perform our routine COR-2 observations until it reaches the COR-1 (inner coronagraph) camera late on the 15th. We will then focus our attention on that and the extreme ultraviolet (EUVI) instruments. The STEREO spacecraft are very far from Earth and so this only gives us a pretty small amount of data to send back. So we're going to have to go careful with what we do, and be clever about it. We are considering taking "subfield" images -- that is, only return, say, the top half of the image. We also have some on-board storage space that we can use but it still takes a long time to dump that data, and we're supposed to use that storage space to capture CME events. But I can make the case for an exception here.
2. SOHO/LASCO: The comet will enter LASCO C3 on the 14th at the very lower-left edge of the field of view. I predict it will be around mag 5 or 6 at this time. We are unable to squeeze any more images out of LASCO than we already do, simply because it uses early 1980's computer technology and just can't do things all that fast. So this means the standard 5 images per hour. What we can and will do, however, is use different exposure times and filters to capture as much science as we possibly can. Finally, the rarely-mentioned UVCS instrument on SOHO has the ability to point itself at a the track of the comet and get some observations. This has happened before with great success and so that's what we're shooting for again.
3. SDO: In July of this year, the NASA SDO spacecraft observed a comet evaporating in the solar corona: the first ever observations of its kind. I'm involved with a group of scientists that are still analyzing that event (exciting publication pending!), and we're naturally very excited about this opportunity. Unfortunately, it's now 6-months later which means that the comet will reach perihelion behind the Sun as seen from SDO. So SDO will only have a relatively brief window in which to see it before it disappears behind the solar limb. However, a group of us met yesterday to discuss this and the SDO team are planning to do some special operations to maximize our chances of observing the comet.
4. PROBA: I was delighted to receive an email from the European "PROBA" team. They have an EUV imager that they plan to try and use to observe the comet. From their message to me:
'PROBA2 is an ESA microsatellite pointing to the Sun from LEO [Low Earth Orbit]. Onboard is the SWAP EUV imager with a significantly larger FOV than SDO/AIA but imaging only in the 17nm bandpass (see eg http://proba2.oma.be/swap/data/mpg/movies/swap_cr_2116_yellow.mp4 (http://proba2.oma.be/swap/data/mpg/movies/swap_cr_2116_yellow.mp4)) We have made a little movie of how the Lovejoy comet is expected to pass through our FOV. It is available here: http://proba2.nicula.net/lovejoy_predict.mov (http://proba2.nicula.net/lovejoy_predict.mov)
A couple of hours after the event, the data in movie format will appear here (http://proba2.oma.be/swap/data/mpg/movies/overview.php) and in FITS format here (http://proba2.oma.be/swap/data/bsd/2011/12/15/).
Of course, it remains questionable if we will see anything at all in the 17nm bandpass.'
So rest assured that we are trying to make this the most well-observed Kreutz-group comet ever, and are trying to return as much science from it as we possibly can before it is forever lost to the Sun's searing corona! As always, keep checking back on this page as I update it with the latest news about the comet and the observing operations we have planned for it. "
13-12-2011, 10:27 AM
Terry's comet must be generating the most widespread professional/amateur interest in ages! It's been in the STEREO fields for a couple of days, but the first 'hi-res' imagery is now coming out. Check out this gif animation:
13-12-2011, 10:50 AM
Front cover of Spaceweather too:
13-12-2011, 01:46 PM
:) wonderful stuff this.
13-12-2011, 08:07 PM
It certainly looks a lot brighter than any of the other SOHO Kreutz comets - by a big margin actually. I wouldn't be suprised if it briefly reaches mag -4, with a large amount of tail material generated - should be spectacular in SOHO and STEREO imagery. I'm even thinking of trying to see/image it in daylight Thursday afternoon.
I will suprised if the comet survives perihelion however. Perhaps some of the tail may survive.
14-12-2011, 08:57 PM
The comet has hit the LASCO C3 field now - very BRIGHT with a long tail! The comet is the thick white streak intruding from the bottom of the frame.
Ta Rob, nice little comet indeed!!
Image or view it on Thursday afternoon!!!!
Wow, how cool.
Can anyone offer some tips on how to view this comet?
Thanks for the links Brent & Rob. :thumbsup:
15-12-2011, 08:46 PM
Don't know if it's been noticed (probably has) but there are at least two extra pieces of comet on the same orbit ahead of Lovejoy, diving into the Sun on the LASCO C3 image. The first appears at about 11:54 on 13/12/2011, initially starlike and eventually displaying a tiny tail before disappearing at about 23:42 on 13/12. The second is just ahead of the comet by about 1/2 degree, currently faint and starlike. Didn't know about them beforehand, and will probably be as close as I ever get to a comet discovery :lol:.
First post here, and just arrived in Oz from the UK, so hi everyone, looks like a nice forum to discuss all things astronomical!
:hi: Andy and welcome to Australia!!
Certainly interesting things going on as the comet heads towards the Sun, ? naked eye!!
Couldnt get that link open for some reason, but wll try again. Got it open, and that great!!
16-12-2011, 06:14 AM
Thanks Andy for that website. It is amazing watching Comet Lovejoy racing in to the Sun and the puffs from the Sun are great too.
Terry found an amazing comet. http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/...current_c3.mpg (http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/LATEST/current_c3.mpg)
16-12-2011, 07:45 AM
Are people keeping up with http://sungrazer.nrl.navy.mil/index.php?p=news/birthday_comet ? It appears every solar observation satellite is either watching or waiting for C/2011 W3
From here at home http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/ (http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/mpeg) seems to be not coping with the load
Thanks for that Andrew, every little link is good for new info and images.
Today could prove quite exciting if anything eventuates!! I am ready and waiting. :D
16-12-2011, 09:41 AM
:) That little bit of comet following in front of Comet Lovejoy is in fact called Comet Amy!!! (for Terry's daughter :D )
If we keep saying it enough times, it might become official!!
16-12-2011, 10:03 AM
Check out the trailer to the movie The End of Comet Lovejoy!!
Directed by Camilla !!!
16-12-2011, 10:39 AM
It's behind the C3 sun mask now.
that sungrazer website is a good one Andrew,and keeping up to date!
Watch here for live updates.
Look at the top image, and have a look at frame 171. You will see the streaks on the top left of the image.
If you're having trouble seeing it, take a look here for guidance.
NASA SDO- First visual video of Comet Lovejoy.
16-12-2011, 12:07 PM
All looking interesting, but worth noting that there are data gaps from SOHO, so we don't get to see constant live imagery. I think it records constantly, but can't transmit to Earth constantly, so we may have to wait a bit for all the images.
Some good updates from the Sungrazer twitter account:
A video of it appearing in the Solar Dynamics Observatory's view:
Looks a pretty unhappy comet!
Hi Andy and welcome to our forum and Aussie! :hi:
I believe the images took 30mins to reach Goddard's computers.
That was the time frame given to us on the website anyway.
Here's some pics showing that beautiful tail.
:eyepop:OMG!! The comet is still alive!
It re-emerged from the other side of the sun.
Video here. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBJ2mkI1rSc)
16-12-2011, 03:29 PM
Cheers for the welcome guys :hi:, and cool that Comet Lovejoy survived! just so I can use the smiley... must be pretty :windy: that near the sun... Don't suppose Comet Amy survived though.
We have to wait until 17:45 (E Aus) to get the next SOHO updates. It looks like periodically communication with SOHO is poor due to the loss of the high-gain antenna in 2003. Every so often communications are a bit more limited, and unfortunately now is one of those times (see wiki article and the sungrazercomets twitter feed). No such problems with SDO of course. Am looking forward to the next update of LASCO C3!
EDIT - oops, am still getting used to converting from UT to Aussie T :) - SOHO's not online until 19:45 E Aus time, according to sungrazercomets.
17-12-2011, 06:47 AM
Quote from http://sungrazer.nrl.navy.mil/index.php?p=news/birthday_comet
17-12-2011, 07:13 AM
Good to see the comet now has it's tail back in the LASCO C3 images... awesome tale of a comet....
17-12-2011, 09:08 AM
Awesome footage this morning of comet Lovejoy surviving its encounter with the sun. You must be feeling very proud of your little comet Terry !
Is it posible that it will now become visible from earth ?
17-12-2011, 09:12 AM
S&T has an article on it
17-12-2011, 10:32 AM
I will be looking skyward at dawn tomorrow, If the clouds go away up here.
You never know your luck, could be another "Great" comet :eyepop:
17-12-2011, 11:11 AM
Brilliant Coverage Girls and Guys :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
And Congratulations to Terry for discovering this amazing comet:thumbsup:
17-12-2011, 11:27 AM
You might want to grab a copy of http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/LATEST/current_c3.gif before too long. C/2011 W3 comes into frame, goes behind the sun, comes out and gets most of the way to the edge of frame.
I have a copy for anyone who misses out.
17-12-2011, 11:57 AM
It will be hard to see this comet in the next few days.
17-12-2011, 01:25 PM
And here is my newest image of the comet taken just before noon today (Dec 17.06 UT). Tough object to get being so close to sun (and not visible visually). With 350D + C8 (stopped to 2") + 14 x 1/320sec exposures I managed register the coma and a trace of the tail.
I am hopeful of a nice binocular comet low in the dawn around christmas time.
17-12-2011, 01:33 PM
Extraordinary, thank you for the link. A sun-GRAZER indeed!
17-12-2011, 02:18 PM
That’s amazing that you can pick up an image in the middle of the day Terry. :eyepop:
What altitude would you expect it to be when it becomes visible?
I am trying to visualize its position in relation to us. Having gone around the sun is it moving away from or towards earth ?
I admire you dedication in finding this comet :thumbsup:
17-12-2011, 03:26 PM
The attached SkyMapPro map shows the position of Comet Lovejoy at 5am DST for the next 3 weeks.
On 20/12 it is 1.3 deg to the right of M62. On 25/12 it will be 0.8 deg below NGC 6231.
The map is looking SE with the horizon in grey.
17-12-2011, 03:59 PM
On Christmas Eve it will be easy to find, being right next to the lovely orange star Zeta2 in Scorpius' tail :thumbsup:
Hey Terry, thanks for your Christmas Comet :)
I was out pre sunrise this am taking pics, but wishful thinking on my part, but will keep at it. ;)
Absolutely Ken, a great little Xmas comet for us from Santa Terry, fingers crossed. :D
Well done on that image Terry, wow!!
17-12-2011, 07:40 PM
Thanks for the chart Glen. I appreciate that. :)
18-12-2011, 09:11 AM
Thanks Glen, greatly appreciated.
Cheers Petra d.
18-12-2011, 10:07 AM
Morning Comet Watchers
Already we are seeing good photos of Terrys Comet.
This one from spaceweather.com
Looks like it could put on quite a show if this photo is anything to go by !
18-12-2011, 12:06 PM
Putting 5am on the 25th December into Stellarium shows zeta Sco about 16 degrees above the horizon using the Alt Az grid. Aproximately halfway between East and South. Looks to be reasonably dark also!
This video is currently doing the rounds on facebook (tks for the share Nettie)- and rightly so. It's a terrific video montage of tough comet Lovejoy, entitled "The Ballad of Comet Lovejoy- The Comet That Could." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymxgchf8x0w)
Put together by some fine people on the ground there at the pulse of where it was all happening such as that wonderful rubber chook, Camilla SDO (NASA's mascot). She's a fan of Terry's.;):D
Terry - it must be quite humbling to see this video! :prey2:
Brings a *gulp* to my throat and I didn't even discover it.:P
18-12-2011, 04:02 PM
Must get up tomorow early and see if I can get a look :astron::astron:
What a comet:eyepop:
18-12-2011, 04:32 PM
Fantastic result all round. Thanks Terry.
I thought I saw a familiar background in the SOHO LASCO C3 image. If you look carefully you can see the Lagoon Nebula and Sag star cloud.
So I got out my trusty Registar and with my widefield from here
and the latest lasco image we get the result below.
It really shows how bright this comet is!
18-12-2011, 05:17 PM
that spaceweather front page image reminds of C/2000 WM1 LINEAR in early 2002, nearly 10 years ago! with dust parabolic hood with dark lane WOW, .. wow doesnt cut it actually
18-12-2011, 05:29 PM
and oh! thanks for the southern Comet Terry :) altho be much more famous if a nothern hemisphere favouring one i 'spose, .. equatorials would of been the most diplomatic thing to do ;)
18-12-2011, 05:49 PM
Thanks Bert for showing us M8 near the Sun.
18-12-2011, 08:56 PM
It has certainly been a whirlwind 3 weeks!
From a media point of view news of the comet has made many of the technology type sites like gizmo, etc, which is how many of the people at my work have found out! In some parts of the world it has made general news. My wife is being asked about the comet on her non-astronomy interest forums - so I think the comet is getting plenty attention. The attention is focused more on the comet rather than me (which is how I prefer it!)....and the ballad well thats a nice gesture :)
Im still in mild state of shock to say the least. Thinking it was less than 3 weeks ago that I nearly dismissed a "reflection" in my images. Then having that object be found to a rare Kreutz sungrazing group and then seeing it with my own eyes was a tremendous thrill. But nothing prepared me for the display it put on for the SDO, SOHO and STEREO solar space observatories. Watching it tunnel through the sun's corona in near realtime then reappear on the other side was a real thrill.
When I saw the comet reappear on the otherside of the sun, I remember thinking whether the comet would just emerge as asteroidal object exhausted of all volatiles. Then sure enough a small asteriodal object soon emerged in the COR1 STEREO coronograph images. It did look like it was spent. Watching the first few images (which are very low-res) the tail was gone and it looked much fainter. However, as more frames downloaded from COR1, there seemed to be a rapid brightening trend and it seemed a tail was reforming! In the SOHO imagery it was amazing seeing the comets tail dismembered from the comet.
Within 24 hours, the comet was looking healthier and brighter than before perihelion.
Now it looks like the comet is going to re-emerge into our morning skies as a very fine comet. Maybe not in the same league of McNaught but a nice comet none-the-less.
Lastly, thanks again for all the kind comments.
18-12-2011, 10:19 PM
This was great, thanks for sharing! Loved the SDO footage - seeing the tail wiggling about in the corona was something new for me. :thumbsup::thumbsup:
19-12-2011, 02:45 AM
Congratulations Terry and thanks for telling us about your experience as your comet rounded the Sun.
19-12-2011, 05:46 AM
This comet is making me wake up at 4am every morning to try to get it.
And I like it!
Thanks Terry for the Report, I hope this comet puts a nice show for all the astrobuffs in the south hemisphere.
Question: How bright do you think it will be and when?
Reformulation of the question: If your wife would give you 1 day to go and photograph the comet when would you go? :) :)
19-12-2011, 06:43 AM
Comet ? Sky ? where ?
Must be somewhere above that grey and wet stuff we have had for the last two weeks or so.
With a bit of luck there might, just might be some clear sky here before Xmas and I might, just might get a chance to see it.
Nobody buy nuffiin !!
I popped out this am for an hour pre dawn, in the hope of maybe glimpsing .... something. ;)
Quite a few clouds around, but were moving pretty quickly. Saw Mars for the first time for ages, and it has brightened a lot since previously seen. Also Saturn in Virgo was looking good.
Comet is tricky at the moment, though know others have seen it around the world. It is very low in the east, and for me this am, that was associated with a low lying bank of cloud embedded in the sky glow of Townsville and the lightening in east pre sunrise, and a Moon, which will be down lower tomorrow as well!!
Took quite a few pics and will check them out later, but dont think there was anything. Thnk I was hoping for a little bright streak with the Sun shining on a little Lovejoy tail. :D
19-12-2011, 08:10 AM
I think the best time to see the comet is from this weekend onwards. Pick a clear day! It will obviously be fading quickly but climbing higher into a dark sky. I have been watching the STEREO H1 raw videos and the dust tail has grown to close to 10 degrees, so we may soon see a faint streak of tail pointing up out from the morning twilight.
19-12-2011, 04:01 PM
Congratulations Terry on discovering a very cool comet! :thumbsup: Sounds like it's been a rollercoaster of the best kind for you over the past few weeks. Seeing how bright it was as it left LASCO, we can hope it might yet put on a show in the morning sky. Could be painful getting up that early though! And with luck the little piece of ice that forever has your name attached to it will last forever... or at least until the next time it approaches the Sun...
19-12-2011, 04:42 PM
Thanks Terry, I'll be watching!
19-12-2011, 08:20 PM
Taken not long ago from South America with a 200mm lens showing the tail sticking up from below the horizon:
19-12-2011, 08:23 PM
Awesome Terry ! May be good things to come.
19-12-2011, 08:29 PM
:D It looks like it's going to put on a nice show for us.
19-12-2011, 08:32 PM
by Jakub Cerny, Jan Ebr, Martin Jelinek, Petr Kubanek, Michael Prouza, Michal Ringes
20-12-2011, 01:24 AM
Report: Monday at dawn no signs of the comet visually or in a photo. Tried from 100mm to 400mm without luck. I'll try again tomorrow!
20-12-2011, 02:25 AM
Imaged during the day!!
20-12-2011, 05:05 AM
Hi to our Aussie mates across the ditch. My long time observing buddy Noel Munford and I started observing before comet rise here on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Conditions were almost ideal. A cloud bank sat over the mountains to the east of us up to 3.5 degrees high.
Using bino's I could follow the tail stars of Scorpius down to Epsilon Sco. We saw Antares rise, then Mercury, which from our latitude of 40 south should have been lower than the predicted position of the comet. Still no sign of a tail or head.
Suddenly at 16.00 hrs U.T. (5.00 a.m. N.Z.D.T.) about 45 mins before local sunrise. I was sure that I could see a thin segment of tail arcing up in p.a. 120 degrees (11 o'clock to the horizon). My mate Noel wasn't sure at all. He took a photo which he has since re-worked in photoshop without revealing anything that looks like what I am certain I saw.
The twilight was very bright and by that time the head of the comet should have been about 30' above the cloud bank. I had another look through the binos after Noel and confirmed my earlier observation. There was no sign of a nucleus! We packed it in about 20 mins after my first sighting of the tail.
Conclusions. Either we packed up too early and the head was still behind the cloud bank (not likely going by the predicted position in relation to Mercury and the stars of Scorpius in the vicinity), or the tail is now the only part of the comet readily visible in bright twilight!
There was 86 years of observing experience standing on my rural driveway this morning, observing in close to ideal conditions, and yet we didn't sight the comet's head, and only one of us was sure that we could see the tail!
Best of luck over there. I'd love to be proved wrong, but I'm afraid It isn't looking good at the moment.
20-12-2011, 08:35 AM
Thank you for the report Coops. I have better references now for my photo session next morning. My model is a little elusive but it's full of joy and love :D.
Comets are like a box of chocolate, maybe this one will never be visible with the naked eye, maybe it puts a show, I have no idea but what can I lose trying?
Keep trying all is still quite low in the east. All very exciting as to what will happen over the next 5 days or so?? Am working the next 2 mornings though, bugger. :sadeyes:
Stellarium image for tomorrow am. :)
20-12-2011, 08:57 AM
I made the supreme effort an was up at 3.30am (i went to bed at 2am)
No luck in spotting the comet with binos. Though it may have been behind that one static cloud that just hangs there for the entire observing session. LOL
If it's clear tomorrow morning, I'll give it another go.
20-12-2011, 09:03 AM
I thought it was only against me but now I see that cloud extends all the way from Australia to Argentina. That's a heck of a cloud!
Sooner or later we'll get him!
20-12-2011, 09:14 AM
Ian :hi: your obs sound about right after seeing the image from tas from this morning on spaceweather front page -
When i looked yday, there was a bit of cloud in the east that got worse as dawn approached. Always seems to be a bank of cloud low in the east, and in my case Scorpious is rising right over the glow of city lights in Townsville. :rolleyes:
20-12-2011, 09:49 AM
Thanks Luigi, Liz, jjjnettie & fringe_dweller,
I guess that I was just a bit disappointed with the magnitude drop-off. Going by the photo from Tassie on Spaceweather I think that the cloud layer stopped us from seeing the comet on the horizon, which was our best chance to get decent contrast this morning.
Tomorrow will be an improved view but from Thursday morning onwards the tail may stretch out against the darker sky, even if the coma remains faint.
We may have been spoilt somewhat by the appearance of McNaught 5 years ago, and the lack of naked-eye comets in the interim certainly doesn't help. Hopes that this would be a fine comet of mag +1 to 2 have dropped back to it being a good naked-eye comet of mag +3 to 5 with a nice tail.
The photo taken this morning confirm my observation and prove that I wasn't suffering from Martian Canal Syndrome!
All the best for your next attempts. Cheers
20-12-2011, 10:20 AM
Still waiting for clear skies in Melbourne :P but hopeful over the next few days. It's probably worth remebering that this was thought to be a pretty tiny object, and it's remarkable that it's survived at all! The daylight observations suggest it's still reasonably bright, hopefully it'll get high enough quick enough?
20-12-2011, 10:58 AM
Here is the video with Terry's comet for anyone that missed it. 11Mb
20-12-2011, 11:30 AM
No chance here in Arnhemland (http://www.weather.com.au/nt/nhulunbuy).
Then I am back in Cairns FNQ on Xmas Eve, looks like it might be a comet for Xmas day (http://www.weather.com.au/qld/cairns) for me !
20-12-2011, 12:29 PM
I have copies of current_c3.mpg starting at 20111213-1142 (before Lovejoy enters FOV) and 20111215-1418 (covers leaving the FOV). Bert's starts at 20111214-1530 so anyone wants a bit more at the start and finish, speak up and I'll see about uploading them.
20-12-2011, 06:33 PM
Fantastic vid Bert, thats the first one I've seen with all the blank frames filled in.
Ian, Congratulations on sighting the comet! I wonder if this comet will be similiar to the 1880 and 1887 Kreutz comets which were basically "headless" comets.
20-12-2011, 07:21 PM
I've been trying to think of previous headless comets in history and you have nailed a significant pair of them, and from from the same family to boot!
Fortunately for us here on the lower North Island's west coast we are enjoying our first real purple patch of weather since September. A really foul spring, similar to 2006 which funnily enough culminated with McNaught's arrival. The forecast suggests that I will be up every morning from now until Christmas, and possibly longer.
I stll expect to see a good comet sitting above the twilight this week. This is my first Kreutz member. I was only 8 when Ikeya-Seki came through. My mate Noel saw that one. Noel actually mistook the tail for the Milkyway until he realized what it was! I wasn't into serious astronomy when White-Ortiz-Bolelli popped up briefly in 1970, so I missed on that one too.
Just re-read from Gary W. Kronk's book the references to those two Kreutz members. One thing that may still happen with this comet when it gets above the twilight, and the moon has lost all influence, could be a strong lengthening of the tail as seen from rural locations.
As an example of how faint the extreme ends of long comet tails are, according to the ship log of the Endeavour when Cook's crew observed Messier's best comet in September 1769, the tail was 70 degrees long. As soon as a thin morning crescent Moon rose the tail shrunk to only a third of its length!
Back in 2004 when we had the Duelling Comets in the sky, I advised would be astrophotographers to take a few ultra-widefield shots to pick up the true end of any possible tail. During the week that the two comets were at their best we had another spell of great weather. So good in fact that I had John Drummond of Gisborne travel the 400km to my place to get a good chance to capture the comets with his new DSLR. On May 19th, 2004, John captured the Ion tail stretching out to 45 degrees!
So once again I say, don't just concentrate on the obvious. Take some deep, wide-angle shots as well, even disgonalling the field along the line of the tail if need be!
Thanks for the discovery Terry. A great effort.
20-12-2011, 07:31 PM
I have a ton of photos but I'm not sure if I got it or not this morning. It's difficult! Weather will be bad the next couple of days so I'll be back on friday... hunting...
20-12-2011, 08:37 PM
Weather in Adelaide is going to be clear over the coming days (about time!) I might wake up early the next few mornings. It all depends how I feel as I plan to do some imaging work over the next couple of nights as well. Not enough hours for sleep!
20-12-2011, 09:00 PM
Me too, really interested to see how this develops now! Early morning wake up call I definitely think!:D
Very interesting read Ian, :thanx:.
Welcome to IIS Stu :hi: and good luck. I think there will be many of us having a look over the next few days!!
This pic was taken by Vello Tabur today revealing the comet with tail under the star next to Antares.
21-12-2011, 03:26 AM
What a difference a day makes! Get out of bed everyone. It is well worth the effort!
The naked-eye tail was sticking above the twilight as soon as my bleary eyes looked in that direction. Like a smaller, fainter version of Ikeya-Seki.
I took some exposures on my Fuji Finepix S9500. I also, in my excitement, managed to stuff the focus on my best exposed shot.
Here are my best frames. No doubt we will see a lot better from others soon. 15.16 U.T. was 4.16 a.m. local Daylight Time.
When the coma actually rose I could see no sign of the nucleus in 10 x 50 bino's.
This is looking like a fine comet, even without a head!
Excellent stuff Ian, that is one mighty fine tail!!! :xmas:
21-12-2011, 05:32 AM
nice shots ian..:thumbsup:
went down to the bottom of our block of land for my easterly viewing of the comet and with my 9x63 binos was unable to see it ....there always seems to be a nice puffy cloud on the horizon where you need to look :mad2: but it was still worth the try,sounds like the weekend is going to be the time to best view this comet fingers crossed for some clear weather.... and the moon looked beautiful this morning :)
21-12-2011, 05:51 AM
Great stuff Ian! Will be keeping an eye out. What time of day was that? Is it near Antares?
21-12-2011, 05:54 AM
Just came back inside. Absolutely clear skies but I couldn't see it. I could see Antares through binoculars though. Maybe needed to go out earlier than 5? :shrug: Will try again tomorrow morning.
21-12-2011, 05:57 AM
that was 4.16 a.m. local Daylight Saving Time (for latitude 40 south). I would start looking from 3.15 tomorrow morning as the tail will be already rising by then. The comet is starting to move up into the first of the tail stars of Scorpius. The whole comet should be sitting just above the twilight tomorrow morning.
Best of luck to all.
21-12-2011, 08:23 AM
Thanks for the tip Coops. Great shot by the way. I was up imaging until 1 and then got up at 5. It's a bit of struggle at the moment. I had planned doing the same tonight as it's supposed to be clear. I will try and get up earlier. It's getting towards the point that I may as well image through the night. Plenty of red bull might be in order tomorrow!
21-12-2011, 08:51 AM
Many thanks for all your insight and pics re CLJ - I hope we get a glimpse here - cross fingers the weather clears.
Cheers Petra d.
21-12-2011, 09:13 AM
sadly didn't see Comet Lovejoy, but as always some lovely star views. Out of interest did anyone else see a satellite around 5am(ish) going into the South East.
Space Weather suggests it was Hubble;
Hubble Space Telescope 04:12:31 am WNW 04:15:52 32° 3.6 (dim)
It was a beautiful sight.
This is a stellarium shot for 22/12, but as most have seen in images being taken, the tail whizzes right over Scorpious!! Get out early ... as per Coops, from 3.15. :xmas:
21-12-2011, 10:52 AM
Newbie here :). Haven't seen any reports from WA, so thought I'd chime in.
After reading Ian Cooper's post I decided to drive south to the Mandurah Esturary around 2 am for a look. Light pollution is pretty low down there. I took 2 cameras, 1 for timelapsing and the other stills. I started taking images around 2:50 WST. At around 3:10 the first hint of tail appeared above the trees and by 3:15 I could see it visually. It stayed in clear view (non averted vision) from then until around 4:10 (deep twilight). An awesome sight.
Attached is one of the images:
Time: 3:38 WST
Shutter: 12 s
I also attempted a 24mm timelapse of the whole event. Haven't looked at that yet, but if it's any good I'll post it here.
If you're lucky enough to have clear skies tomorrow, I urge you to go out before the onset of astronomical twilight. If the comet is anything like it was this morning you won't be disappointed.
Thanks to Ian for the heads up.
21-12-2011, 11:01 AM
Amazing images, great skill and timing.
21-12-2011, 11:01 AM
Great image Colin and two tails.
21-12-2011, 11:02 AM
Wow Colin! :welcome: to IceInSpace.
Wow, beautiful image Colin, and as Glen says, look at the 2 tails!!
Send it in to Spaceweather, if you havent done so yet. Fabulous!! :xmas:
Oh, and please pop it in the Solar System photography section, so everyone can see it.
21-12-2011, 11:37 AM
that is exactly what I was hoping my heads-up would lead to! Beautiful. Very well done Colin!
I'm picking for you tomorrow the head of the comet will be sitting on top of the trees. Leaves my pics for dead! Hope to do a lot better in the coming days. You have definitely set the benchmark mate.
21-12-2011, 12:15 PM
Colin, brilliant! Will definately get up earlier tomorrow.
21-12-2011, 12:33 PM
Couldn't see it for the trees and buildings....!!!!!
What elevation is it, must be very low on the horizon?
21-12-2011, 12:53 PM
Hi Colin and welcome.
What an awesome image to come into IIS with.
It sends a shiver up my spine and takes me back to the view of comet Mcnaught at the Ice In Space Astrocamp 2007.
I will continue to look every morning, in the hope of the clouds clearing !
21-12-2011, 01:29 PM
Colin, I posted your image with a link to this post on Google+ and it's been re-shared by Fraser Cain, Phil Plaitt and many others - it's going viral!
Make sure you send it to SpaceWeather and APOD!
21-12-2011, 04:10 PM
Thanks Mike and everyone else for the kind words and welcome.
I've processed the timelapse. I thought it would be interesting to see in one sequence the change in comet appearance as twilight progressed. Hope you enjoy it.
21-12-2011, 04:50 PM
Great stuff. The still image is exquisite. The time lapse shows how hard it is to see once the sky has brightened. You have put the 5D2 to very good use :-) Interestingly, Rob McNaught's iconic images of 2006 P1 were made with a 5D.
Obviously very well suited to comet imaging :-)
21-12-2011, 05:17 PM
Awesome photo Colin.
21-12-2011, 05:22 PM
The image is now on the IceInSpace homepage, with a link to this thread for people looking for info on how to view the comet tomorrow morning.
Does anyone have an up-to-date finder chart they can post here?
:eyepop: Brilliant pic and video, thanks Collin.:thumbsup:
Australian Sky & Telescope have just put the video on facebook.
As for the pic, it's been doing the rounds today since it was first posted here. Everyone's sharing! :D
Oops nearly forgot - :welcome: and what an entrance YOU made! :prey2:
I posted a Stellarium chart for tomorrow earlier today, but so many posts since, and another from Southen Comets Homepage.
21-12-2011, 06:22 PM
21-12-2011, 08:19 PM
Oh boy Ian and Colin...thanks for sharing. Please, please can we get some clear sky here!
21-12-2011, 08:28 PM
Right, have picked a couple of spots to go viewing tomorrow morning. Both have clear views towards the SE. Adelaide is expected to be clear so should have no issues with the weather. Just have to make sure I wake up when the alarm goes off :lol:
21-12-2011, 09:46 PM
Here's one further image from this morning. Taken at the limit of my zoom (105 mm) plus a little in post, it shows a bit more structure in the tail.
Good luck to everyone out there tonight.
21-12-2011, 09:55 PM
Great shot !
22-12-2011, 12:03 AM
Another chart for the next few weeks, for Sydney, from TheSky6.
22-12-2011, 02:14 AM
There are two ways to plot the path of a comet, RA/Dec and Alt/Az.
RA/dec shows the position with respect to the stars.
Alt/Az shows the altitude with respect to the horizon.
Attached are SkyMapPro maps for both methods, looking SSE at 5am AEDT from latitude 29S.
The 6% phase Moon will be 20 degrees north of Comet Lovejoy tomorrow morning.
22-12-2011, 02:38 AM
Colin: You are the man! What a photo!!!
This comet is putting up a very nice show for us in the South Hemisphere.
Do you think it will get even better as it rises above the horizon?
I need to go to a dark location as soon as the clouds allow me.
22-12-2011, 04:10 AM
Another brilliant morning here on the Manawatu Plains west of Palmerston North. I'm still pinching myself that this beautiful weather has coincided with this amazing display. Apart from Mcnaught in Jan 2007 when we had the cloudiest Jan in 82 years, we've been very lucky over the years with comets, and eclipses!
I got up about 3.10 a.m. local time. I walked around the side of the house to get a clear view and there it was. About 5 degrees of tail already sticking up. I gathered up all my cameras and drove about a km down the road to where I knew I could at least place a tree in my pics (dairy farmers around here adopt a bit of a scorched earth policy when it comes to trees near the road. Either none or too many!).
The four pics attached were taken with either my Fuji Finepix S9500 or a loaned Canon EOS 10D which I have used for the first time this morning, and so I'm still getting used to it (not a great time to be learning).
This looks more and more like a fainter, smaller version of Ikeya-Seki everyday. I grew up on photos of that famous sun-grazer, and now each morning this week I get up and see his little brother!
The first exposure with the 10D was 30 secs on ISO 1600. The 3rd shot is with the S9500, 20 secs, ISO 400.
No doubt we will see a lot better images quite soon.
22-12-2011, 04:17 AM
Your images are fantastic! I really really like them!
It's a fantastic display, we are lucky people down here in the South Hemisphere.
Argentina is cloudy but I'm going to take the car on Thursday and drive wherever I have to drive to get this comet in a photo. That or I change my name to "crapbag"
22-12-2011, 04:35 AM
Wow those images make me wish I had a decent camera. Thanks everyone for posting the info. I had to hike to the top of the ridge (in my pjs) but the view is fantastic and it is a perfect night for viewing here in Adelaide.
This is only the second comet I have seen it is so exciting!
22-12-2011, 04:44 AM
Great shots! Currently outside looking at it. Certainly is like a beacon of light coming up from the horizon. Taking some pics which I'll post later. Not as good as what others have done due to light pollution to the east. Two tails clearly visible in pics though
22-12-2011, 05:13 AM
Great shots Ian!
I was out there this morning too - saw it between clouds and captured a few images which are importing now.
I was lucky to see anything with all the clouds around, so I'll take it.
Gotta get up early though! By 4:30am it's lost in the light.
22-12-2011, 05:23 AM
The clouds seem sky free over here in Perth, so i'm going out. The comet rises at 3:18AM for West Australians, but the tail should be visible earlier. I will try at some instantaneous shots with my 12.2MP camera. I dont know how the images will come out though but they should give some indication of what the comet looks like from suburban sky's. I will be lucky enough to be where Colin was when he took his image (Mandurah Estuary) for 5 days after new year so I might see even better observing conditions.
22-12-2011, 05:25 AM
More stunning shots!
Oh the anticipation waiting for it to breach the horizon here in Perth after seeing those most recent shots of it!
22-12-2011, 06:41 AM
Here you go Terry,
This is from Aldinga airstrip this a.m.
My son kept me company. We tried to write Terry with our torch :)
We woke at 3am and drove about half an hour further south to get
a good, dark sky with good SE views and it was so dark there I didn't
realise those bloody powerlines were in the shot :rolleyes:
Yeah, have also seen it, and took some very ordinary images from a hospital, well lit carpark, but I got it. My work mates were very impressed!!
Well done Steve ..... I wondered what you wrote, great idea!!
22-12-2011, 07:15 AM
I didn't do the T right Liz! :)
22-12-2011, 07:32 AM
I thought it was Merry!
22-12-2011, 08:00 AM
I went outside at 2:30 and waited for half an hour before the tail came visible. I noticed the comet quite suddenly as if cloud cleared or that it had risen enough to provide contrast against the black sky. For the next 45 minutes I took photos (About 30) before my camera went flat:sadeyes:. Luckily enough, twilight was just about to begin and the comet had disappeared by 4:15. An interesting observation to note is that the comets head wasn't visible at all. Either it was blocked by the hills, or it was fainter then the tail and went unnoticed in the haze. I think the latter is the most likely. This is quite the opposite to Comet McNaught. I was surprised to see Mercury, the Moon, Saturn and Mars following the comet on the ecliptic. I went inside at 4:30.
22-12-2011, 08:59 AM
Well the tail would have started to become visible at 0230 Perth time, much earlier then i expected.
I needed to tilt the camera to fit it in the frame but the shots were worth it in the end again.
22-12-2011, 09:03 AM
Wow, the tracked shot make a huge difference with the tail.
22-12-2011, 09:19 AM
Superb shot Grahame! :thumbsup: What camera/lens combination is that.. ie what field of view is required?
22-12-2011, 09:19 AM
It sure did mike :D and thanks to the farmers whos land I managed to set up on for a few hours too, complete with dead tree as foreground object for the comet rising this morning.
Thanks Phil it was taken using a canon 7D, 70mm lens.... oh i wish i had a 5d right about now!
22-12-2011, 09:24 AM
Awesome stuff Colin.. timelapse is lovely too.
I'm a busy busy man at the moment but going to have to find a way to get a look at this comet!
22-12-2011, 09:28 AM
You can't miss it, Phil!
22-12-2011, 09:30 AM
Thanks Grahame, another great image. The tail is at least 13 degrees long in your pic.
22-12-2011, 10:06 AM
mumble mumble bleeding clouds
Thanks everyone for the pictures. What a gorgeous comet this is.!!!
22-12-2011, 10:17 AM
We need it to stay bright until the clouds clear :)
22-12-2011, 10:33 AM
Regrettably from light-polluted suburban Melbourne skies with the odd tree in the way, it was just missable :(. The haze combined with horizon clutter was just too much, and by the time the comet rose high enough the twilight was too bright. I could see NGC6231 in the binos no probs so was in the right area too. In a day or two the comet'll be well above my horizon. But ... had a lovely hour or so under a pretty clear sky around dawn with the LMC, Eta Car and Omega Cen visible to naked eye, and a bit of Milky Way too. Mercury visible late on too. So not all lost!
And some of the photos on here today are exceptional :eyepop:, and definitely make up for missing the main show of the morning. The time-lapse video is beautiful too.
22-12-2011, 11:15 AM
I saw it this morning, too. I'm in Albany, on the south coast, at the moment. I set the alarm for 3.20am and was expecting to see clouds. I couldn't see anything out my bedroom window but went around to big front windows and there it was! Luckily to the right of a big Norfolk Island pine, too. Plus I had a street light about ten metres to the left, but could see it no problems. So if you are in the suburbs with a bit of light around, don't give up, it is still easily visible. Twilight had already started down here. Looking forward to the next week, to see it does, now.
Well done all, agree it is very exciting, this is the best comet I have seen since the brilliant Hyakutake in 1996!! I imaged it this am, and is the best image of a comet I have taken as well, though not in the league of colin, Ian and crew. ;)
We in North Qld missed out on Comet MacNaught :sad: ( :rain::rain::rain::rain::rain::rain :) and are still getting over that, so beautiful Comet Lovejoy is a welcome sight!!
22-12-2011, 11:42 AM
Relativistically belated congratulations to Terry, what a lovely present!
I was showing my non-astro relatives some of the SOHO sequences, to some "oohs and aahs", when my niece (who was watching very quietly indeed for her) suddenly asked (with a quaver in her voice),
"Did Santa fall into the sun?"
She was so gratified to see "Santa" coming around the other side of the sun.
I wish we could teach our littlies less about bizarre and fantastical confabulations and instead show them the astonishing wonder of the real world. Sigh.
Thanks everyone for the wonderful images!
22-12-2011, 11:49 AM
Where in Melbourne were you looking this morning Andy? I'm assuming if I get out to the eastern sububrs tomorrow with a flat horizon (eg. Berwick) the remaining light pollution will be no worse than the twilight?
In a few days time I guess it will need a really dark sky as it gets fainter but into dark sky?
22-12-2011, 12:22 PM
Eastern suburbs (Mount Waverley area). Had thought of finding a really low horizon (not all that easy to do with all the trees and houses around), but thought the garden would do OK as I have a pretty low southeastern view. Unfortunately the lost 5deg. or so of lowest sky and an unfortunately-placed tree got in my way and scuppered the view. Will just have to try harder next time! :D It should be straightforwardly visible with a completely flat horizon around 4am - 4:30am, but pick the site well as haze and light pollution will hurt the tail length. I don't doubt it will be quite an easy sight in 1-3 days from here, given the clarity of the sky (from the stars I could see along its projected path), especially seeing others' photos.
From Berwick I'd imagine the LP would be much less of an issue, esp to the SE!
I might call it "Terry's teaser" after this morning...
22-12-2011, 12:51 PM
Not getting much sleep but hey who needs sleep?! Had another lovely view of the comet last night wandering the shore of the Estuary. It's quite unique down there. The Perth and Mandurah sky domes light up the northern half of the sky, while the east and south east are pitch black (except for a couple of small towns). The north glow is enough to walk by once dark adapted.
Anyway, while wandering I came across a small embayment with still water and nice reflections of the comet. Used the same settings as last night to get the attached shot.
Great shots Ian, Graham and Steve. Thanks again everyone for the kind words.
22-12-2011, 12:54 PM
Another beautiful shot, Colin!
What settings? Is that light from the town or the sun?
22-12-2011, 01:03 PM
Another Awesome Shot Colin.
Sadly up here in the NT it's all rain and brewing cyclones !
I hope to get some views when I am back in Cairns from Xmas Eve.
Your delightful shots prompt me to bring a new Canon Camera to the top of my shopping list.
great coverage of your shot and video on spaceweather today too, well done.
Are you a professional photographer ?
22-12-2011, 01:06 PM
Like what Mike said.....beautiful.....
It would be interesting to see what settings you used....I couldnt even get close..... to bright.....
22-12-2011, 01:07 PM
Another great shot, Colin. You're getting some great sky there!!!.
22-12-2011, 01:39 PM
wow nice shots everybody... rain again this morning,lets hope it's clear tomorrow
Enjoying all the beautiful pics/charts/obs from everyone, thank you all. :thumbsup:
Can anyone make out the nucleus of this comet yet?
From what I've come to understand, there is a strong possibility it could be headless?
Some info on our last Kreutz....
Our last bright Kreutz sungrazer was 40yrs ago back on May 18th 1970- Comet White–Ortiz–Bolelli (C/1970 K1) which reached ap. mag. +1.
It was discovered by Graeme White in Wollongong, NSW thru binos at sunset. Later it was a naked eye object and by 2oth May, the tail spanned 10deg. in length until it faded out of view on June 1st.
Comet Ikeya–Seki 1965 is the most recent very bright Kreutz sun grazer, reaching between -10 & -11mag. (comparable to first quarter moon) with a tail spanning 25deg!
And look what I've just found about Terry, he's got a Wiki page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Lovejoy) :eyepop:.
22-12-2011, 02:31 PM
Mike, it's a small town. I was pretty annoyed when the comet rose bang in the middle of this, but fortunately it drifted north and was clear for the shot.
Settings were almost the same as the other shot. 13 s, iso 3200, 70 mm, f/4.
22-12-2011, 03:17 PM
While I found an unobstructed view this morning, I wasn't happy with the light pollution. I'm going to go out for a drive later tonight to see if I can find a better vantage point.
22-12-2011, 05:17 PM
Colin your pics are BEAUTIFUL. Note to self: set the bloody alarm for tomorrow morning. Note to the gods: please no cloud. Amen.
22-12-2011, 06:00 PM
Outstanding shot Colin, nice symmetry there (good for a certain competition).
22-12-2011, 07:54 PM
Hey guys there are a lot of wonderful wide angle photos appearing here. But we also need higher resolution images around the coma to be used for astrometry.
Awesome shots Colin, loving them.
I think that's the Pinjarra ALCOA plant in the last shot?
23-12-2011, 03:59 AM
As I write this, east coasters will be in the middle of observing this themselves. We always knew that this would be the day. Once the coma cleared the brighter part of astronomical twilight we were in with a grin:).
Drove about 50 km's south of me to get the Tararua Ranges (average height is 5,000ft or 1,500m) in the bottom of the field. That part worked but I copped a few annoying clouds that curtailed the end of the tail (is that where the word curtail comes from?).
Still I'm coming to grips with this Canon 10D now. All of the shots are on ISO 800, f/5.6, 20 -30 seconds, except for the Moon shot which was only 2 seconds.
Enjoy the moment folks. You won't regret or forget it!
23-12-2011, 04:03 AM
Grr! It's been clear all night but a bank of cloud is coming up from the SW. It will only last an hour but it looks like it will be the hour I need!
23-12-2011, 04:21 AM
I just had a look at Comet Lovejoy with the naked eye and with 12x60 binoculars.
It was cloudy and hazy here but I still managed to see about 9 degrees of tail up to mu Nor. Lovejoy is brighter than the LMC and eta Car.
A bright satellite was moving down the left side of the comet while I was watching it.
23-12-2011, 04:57 AM
Clouded out now. Typical. Clouds will be gone in an hour. Will try again tomorrow. Weather in Adelaide isn't the best over the coming days but will hopefully improve early/mid next week.
23-12-2011, 05:37 AM
Awesome images everyone.
Wasn't able to see the comet at all in the eastern sky, too many clouds. Even though it cleared up a bit still didn't see it.
Will be heading to north of sunshine coast so hopefully will be able to see it from there before it disappears.
What is the best time to catch it from Brisbane and surrounding areas, just about an hour before dawn ?
23-12-2011, 05:44 AM
Check this out!!!
No clouds in space. LOLOL
I hope there is a high res version coming out soon.
23-12-2011, 07:15 AM
Now that would be a great sight!
Top images again Ian!!!
Wow,jjj, that looks good.
I headed north 30 min to a quieter and darker beach, but too much cloud around today. Were patches of stars, but didnt see the comet. :sadeyes: Took quite a few pics, but didnt see and streaks, but will check them out now. So glad I had a look yday.
23-12-2011, 07:44 AM
No show today, too much light cloud near horizon, where else!! Of course it clears just as dawn begins giving sucker views.
Oh well there is always tomorrow.
23-12-2011, 08:06 AM
Clouded out in Melbourne too.. got up at 3am and drove 15 minutes but turned back home as I wasn't going to get a good view through thick high cloud. Tried to save some sleep for another attempt tomorrow..
23-12-2011, 08:55 AM
Dragged myself out of bed at 4 am. Well worth the effort. Not much else can top a coment like this for an awe inspiring view. Hopefully it gets brighter but nevertheless, still very exciting stuff.
Well done Aaron, you are right there, a brilliant sight. :thumbsup:
Oh, read somewhere from a noted person in the field, that the comet is moving away from us, but the tail is still coming towards us for a couple of more days. Hope this is right, woohoo, sound right Terry??
Oh, and more images from ISS for those who havent seen
23-12-2011, 10:48 AM
The comet is still moving towards earth, and is closest at 0.5 AU in early January when the comet's coma will pass near the south celestial pole (nice!). I imagine the tail would have become quite weak by then and may be difficult to see.
This comet is very similiar to the Sungrazing Comets of 1880 and 1887, which remained visible only 3 weeks past perihelion. So if history is anything to go by then we don't have too much time to get the best views, maybe until the end of the year.
Absolutely stunning photos and great reports everyone.
I headed west out of town (from Pascoe Vale) along the Calder this morning and found a spot with reasonable views of the SE horizon but a lot of sky glow.
Clouds hung low over the horizon and the closest I got to seeing it is attached.
Does anyone have any advice on where to head from Padcoe Vale to have a chance of seeing it or will my spot do without the clouds?
thanks crew - clear skies
23-12-2011, 11:02 AM
Yes, but what a great way to end the year!
Thanks for our early Christmas present this year Mr Lovejoy!:cool::thumbsup::xmas: :reindeer::prey2::love:
23-12-2011, 11:21 AM
Does everyone know she is visible around 3am.. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/comet-defies-death-brushes-up-to-sun/story-e6frea6u-1226228904311 http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/Comet-Lovejoy-Keeps-on-Giving-136099108.html
23-12-2011, 11:23 AM
what exactly is the criteria for a 'Great' comet? if what we observed this morning isnt a Great comet, i'm not sure what is!? Comet Lovejoy's tail was as bright as the southern milky way, actually much brighter as it rose, so what that puts it in the 3.5 mag surface brightness range, min, especially the brighter section of tail! i was comparing it to pointers and other bright stars, very comparible! we could easy see 25d naked eye tail by full visiblity .. in bright twilight, not much else left visible at comets altitude hmmm
23-12-2011, 11:44 AM
This is Jack from Singapore. Really can't resist and just purchased a ticket to Perth for tomorrow.
Anybody in Perth heading to dark sties for a fulll-nighter on Saturday? I would desperately love to join since I've never been there thus not familiar with the place at all. Don't mind sharing petrol cost or even mileage. Simply can't miss a great comet like this after the miserable experiences with comet McNaught.
Appreciate it folks.
23-12-2011, 12:06 PM
Fringe_dweller has put the cat in amongst the pigeons, so to speak. This debate has occurred almost everytime in recent memory that there have been contenders for the title.
In the past I have delivered talks on this subject and it is my contention that there are two elements that go either separately, or together, to make up a "Great Comet." They are, in no particular order, 'brightness,' and 'size.'
A sky object/phenomemenon, daytime or night, that has great angular size will always impress most people by that dimension alone. Something small, but very bright (the Full Moon e.g.) will do likewise. Combine the two and there are no arguments (Comet McNaught in Jan 2007).
In 1996 and 1997 we had two very contrasting 'Great Comets.' The unexpected Hyakutake in 1996 put on a display for those who saw it that will not be forgotten. In a rural location like mine the tail was a classic search-light beam like something from a medieval wood-cut drawing, and stretched out to around 70 degrees long from the Northern Hemisphere. Some say that Hyakutake went to 90 degrees, but I can find no photgraphic eveidence to back this up. The coma was a massive 2 degrees across, like a swollen, diffuse full moon. Yet from most cities the tail only stretched out to about 10 degrees at best.
The highly anticipated Hale-Bopp a year later never grew to much more than 25 degrees long at best, but once again a huge coma, slightly brighter than Hyakutake's, followed by a highly reflective dust pume that was easily seen from the greatest cities of the northen hemisphere, meant that H-B was a stand out in the memory of anyone who bothered to glance up at it. Being the longest visible-to-the-naked-eye comet also helped cement H-B as a great comet.
When I started to compare the current size of Lovejoy to the remarkably similar Ikeya-Seki of 1965, the numbers are very much alike. Obviously Lovejoy 2011 W3 doesn't possess a bright coma/nucleus like I-S, but the brilliance, and growing length of the tail certainly makes up for that.
Considering the comments below by Terry himself regarding the comet's perigee date, I would expect the tail to increase significantly, as did LINEAR T7 back in May 2004, as the comet makes its closest approach to earth. If that occurs then we should see the length numbers about the same as those for the great comets of 1880 & 1887.
When we add all of these factors up, as well as the reported magnitude near perihelion passage of -2.9. I will not be surprised if the title of, "Great Comet," is bestowed upon our magnificent celestial Christmas present!
23-12-2011, 12:25 PM
Good points Kearn and Ian (above)
Hopefully everyone who captured great data doesn't just pic the best
frame from hundreds and post. There is a lot in even crappy data.
Have a look , for example, how bright the very last part of the
two tails are, compared to the Milky Way in this stack of my frames
that are before astronomical twilight starts.
Remember, that is the faintest part of a tail, normally.
This is a great comet. best views are yet to come, I believe.
23-12-2011, 12:42 PM
PM me when you are in Perth - perhaps you can join some of us who might be heading to our ASWA's dark site @ Tammin (about 2 hours drive from Perth) for a 2-niter from Monday next week
23-12-2011, 12:55 PM
Some further good points there Steve regarding the fainter end of the tail. I have always considered the portion of Milkyway in Ara/Norma as being bright. At this time of year it can be a 'phantom auroral ray,' for those of us sucked in by it.
On two successive mornings now I have seen the view shown in your picture. It is often hard to compare one diffuse object with another because of the varying angular sizes and the unequal light distribution. Clearly though the end of the tail is far brighter than the nearby Milkyway in Ara.
On March 25th 1996 I photographed the tail of Hyakutake extending up above the horizon for nearly 40 degrees, whilst the head remained 16 degrees below my horizon at best. The light of the majority of the Hyakutake tail visible to me on that night was still not as bright as the section of Milkyway that spurs off from Aquila west of Scutum.
Overall we may say that the coma is very faint, but even the end of the tail is possibly brighter than the LMC. The first ten degrees of tail though are very bright and visible from urban locations.
This is a great story unfolding and we are in the box seats for sure (once again, everything is as it should be).
Thanks Coops for all that info, great reading.:)
Thank you Terry, wonderful news!!
Good on you Jack, wishing you clear skies, and hope Bill and friends look after you. :thumbsup:
23-12-2011, 02:07 PM
Hi Folks got my first look at comet lovejoy this morning and wow what a stunner :eyepop: , as soon as we were out of the car there she was beaming up into the sky .Dragged a work mate along who had never seen a comet before and she was blown away,lucky to see that as your first comet.Got lucky with the clouds and managed a few shots.
Great images Baz, what a great experience!!
Have seen this wonderful comet, but not in its full glory, maybe tomorrow.
23-12-2011, 02:20 PM
A couple of images for you Terry. One through my 80mm scope at around 450mm focal length and a wideangle using a Canon 17-40mm f4 lens. Both images using a Canon 400D.
23-12-2011, 02:24 PM
23-12-2011, 02:29 PM
As more and more fantastic and amzing pictures keep flowing into this thread, more and more desperate I'm getting to see it and then try my luck with photographying it.
Damn daylight, lets keep rolling the 2 hours +/- the dawn.
It's an awesome gift for all astronomers this christmas - Thank you Mr Lovejoy, may you find about 100 more of such comets.
Now, any pointers or best place to see it from near Brisbane ?
23-12-2011, 02:46 PM
I hope your enjoying my Xmas present, btw I am just charging $2 per look. Please do a bank transfer to....
Sorry poor attempt at humour! Anyway many thanks to all the people who have been posting images. Look how much more intense the tail is compared to the milky way :)
Andrew, I'd like to get that image of the coma to measure the comets position if thats OK? I'll PM you shortly.
23-12-2011, 03:22 PM
Wow, fantastic images everyone. Just keeps getting better. Had some clouds last night - showed up at 2.30 - but decided to hang around and try some longer exposures. Took this one just before start of astro twilight at 105 mm (+ zoomed a little more in post).
Terry, can I propose a new name for your comet. The Great Cosmic Beam! And yeah, you should be charging per view/image. Or at least demand a front row seat on the next ISS flight?!
23-12-2011, 07:14 PM
G'day All ,
Can anyone let me know what time tomorrow morning i should be looking for Comet Lovejoy & how far above the horizon to look .
As i live in suburban Adelaide will i need to find somewhere with altitude or just somewhere like an oval/park .
23-12-2011, 07:17 PM
I'd start from 3am, towards the East. The tail extends up into Scorpius.
From 3am, you'll see the tail rising higher until it's lost in the twilight from around 4:30am.
23-12-2011, 07:24 PM
Do i need to be outside suburbs with lot's of houses or will a park/oval do to view & how high above horizon ?
23-12-2011, 07:28 PM
The less light pollution the better, and it will be low on the horizon so a good view to the East is essential.
23-12-2011, 07:38 PM
Yes thinking of going out again in the morning, might have to head east this time to get away from the light pollution. I usually go out near Mt Pleasant for a view.
23-12-2011, 07:43 PM
I will venture to the same spot I went to this morning (near McLaren Vale). Surprised how dark it was there, and only 20mins from my house.
23-12-2011, 07:49 PM
Thank$ i will check for cloud sounds like i need to go to Mt Lofty ranges as if i get out of the burbs East that where i will end
23-12-2011, 07:58 PM
Hoping for clear skies Ronnie. There might be some cloud around in the morning so perhaps go east of the ranges if you can.
23-12-2011, 08:23 PM
My mate would love to try & get reflections from Adelaide Salt pans but i am thinking by your advice Nairne or Mt Barker
23-12-2011, 08:29 PM
Dry Creek? Maybe but you really want to get away from city lights to really experience it.
TWAN WA 001
23-12-2011, 08:54 PM
Hi Ice in Space members,
I've completed four consecutive nights of photography of Comet Lovejoy, from Western Australia.
The comet was a superb sight early this morning (23 Dec), with about 15 degrees of tail visible (in dark skies, from 70km east of Perth).
I've concentrated on photographing high resolution mosaics of the comet, as it appears above Perth and the Swan River, from the vantage point of Kings Park.
A sample of images is currently available for preview at the followinng link (link may be archived at a later time);
If you want to contact me directly, please use the enquires form on www.celestialvisions.com.au (http://www.celestialvisions.com.au)
TWAN WA 001
The World At Night
Perth, Western Australia
23-12-2011, 09:33 PM
Have a look at the views for Colin's amazing shot......:)
24-12-2011, 12:33 AM
Thanks Steve. Been a treat to see my pics on spaceweather.com...thanks to Liz and Mike for the prompt.
At the risk of over doing it, here's one more from the 22nd. This is a wide angle version of the reflection shot and a still from another timelapse:
Thanks for watching.
24-12-2011, 12:50 AM
He is driving so his choice but i will explain about city lights to him .
24-12-2011, 01:20 AM
simply stunning shot there colin! :eyepop:
hope to meet you in the field one day :)
24-12-2011, 01:35 AM
At the risk of asking an obvious/dumb/unanswerable question, what's with the two tails?
e.g. Astroman's latest pics definitely seem to have two separate tails.
24-12-2011, 01:39 AM
Best explained as the following:
"These are the dust and ion tails. The gaseous ion tail is blown almost directly away from the sun by the solar wind, while the heavier, brighter dust tail will follow the comet's orbit"
Hope this helps :)
24-12-2011, 03:54 AM
After a large mass of cirrus stratus moved over us yesterday evening I thought that this morning would be the first miss of the week. Fortunately the cirrus went as fast as it came. An absolutely stunning morning here on the Manawatu Plains, Lower North Island, west coast, New Zealand.
I got up at 2.15 a.m. local time and there was 5 degrees of tail up already! Tried a new location just NE of Levin to get the Tararua Ranges in again. No cloud to worry about this time. A couple of hiccups. A few focussing problems early on, and I didn't spot a set of power lines sweeping just above the mountain tops until twilight revealed them. By then it was too late. I hadn't checked the site out in daylight, so thems the breaks. Photoshop will remove them later.
What an awesome hour & a quarter. The tail is now nearly as long as Ikeya-Seki at its best. The only thing missing is a brilliant stellar head!The split in the end of the tail was nearly 4 degrees wide. The evenly luminous beam lower down really was like a search light beam.
The vertical picture is 1 min on ISO 800 at f/5.6. The horizontal one is 30 seconds. Canon EOS 10D.
Best of luck to you all. Keep enjoying the moment. I gotta get some shut eye soon. Only 3 hours last night, & the same again tonight. I was going to take my brothers three youngest kids shopping later today, but I think I will just give them the money and let them go for it. I couldn't really face the shopping madness right now.
24-12-2011, 04:05 AM
Great pics Coop.
Currently out again but probably wasting my time. High cloud and wind spoiling the show. Two mornings in a row now ruined by cloud. It looks like I won't have clear skies until maybe Wednesday.
Hopefully people on the eastern seaboard get some views.
24-12-2011, 04:36 AM
I feel your pain swannies i wasn't able to get away from home tonight so walked to 2kms to nearest park clear sky on arrival there so waited
for about 30 mins looked in Scorpius direction again & cloud had come could come a few hours later grr . Clouds have been good to astronomers in SA this year
24-12-2011, 04:46 AM
Awesome shots you guys. Keep them coming.
Currently raining atm. :(
24-12-2011, 04:54 AM
nice shots guys...a small glimpse this morning.......as the rain set in again
24-12-2011, 05:04 AM
I'm actually in the process of blowing some cloud away. Just like yesterday morning, it's right where I don't want it. I might be lucky in another 15mins. All I can say is "wow" about the tail
24-12-2011, 05:04 AM
spaceweather.com has some footage of the comet as seen in the space station amazing!!!!!!!!!!! with a very thin slither of earth
24-12-2011, 05:28 AM
I finally got it!
This is Lovejoy from rural Argentina, I'm still processing photos so I plan to upload many more today.
24-12-2011, 06:53 AM
Was despairing of ever seeing it but finally got a clear morning! :D Wow, what a sight, I'm gobsmacked! With very hilly horizons around the comet was completely washed out by daylight by the time the head rose but the tail was magnificent in the darker skies.
There are some fabulous shots being posted of the whole comet, but my scant offerings are only sections of the tail. The first might help to communicate the scale of this comet for any NHem people viewing the thread:
If you read this Terry, I wasn't able to get a shot that might be useful for astrometry, hope a bit more comes in. We need a precise orbit so our great-great-great-great etc etc etc.... grandchildren know exactly when it's coming back! :P
24-12-2011, 07:06 AM
Nice shots Rob. good detail in both. So do you think it will change from a C/ toe a P/ Comet?
24-12-2011, 07:13 AM
Thanks! Nah Andrew, think there was rough figuring of a 300-400 year orbit so it'll stay a C/ :thumbsup:
24-12-2011, 07:18 AM
I think also now the name is C/ it would stay that way to prevent confusion.
24-12-2011, 07:23 AM
I went up to the Skillion at Terrigal at about 3.30 this morning with my eldest boy Jack to join Iceman and RB for a look.
Unfortunately the central coast had some heavy cloud cover to the east which hung like a heavy drape over the bottom 10-15 degrees of sky immediately above the horizon. We could still see about the rear third of the tail visually. Mike and Andrew were capturing a lot more with their cameras - I am looking forward to seeing the results once they are posted.
It brings back so many memories of McNaught in 2007. So much love and joy (if you will excuse the pun).
24-12-2011, 08:21 AM
My efforts from this morning. Unfortunately there is a streetlight outside the house and nowhere to go to avoid it,plus the security light at the front of the house that cannot be diasabled. I am not convinced that the "cloud" is that, I suspect a dirty sensor,flare and light scatter within the optics. 15 secs @ ISO3200,28mm @f/3.5. Pentax *ist DS and Tokina 28-70mm. Image not processed.
24-12-2011, 08:25 AM
As Sydney people would be aware, the viewing of Comet Lovejoy is problematic at best from the Sydney basin.
Three members of the Western Sydney Amateur Astronomy Group (WSAAG) travelled to Blayney, NSW (near Bathurst) this morning to attempt to view and perhaps photograph the comet while it is still with us and visible.
Conditions were good from 3am to 4:15am. An image is reproduced below.
Canon EOS5D @ ISO 6400, 30 second exposure @ f=50mm with ICNR.
Tony Barry with Dave Gault, Hristo Pavlov, and Anu Barry
24-12-2011, 08:39 AM
Better luck this time doing the 'Terry' :)
This is a stack of frames from 04:08 to 04:12am LT , Adelaide.
Pasted over as a layer is the Terry frame. (The stack fades it
if I leave it as is)
This shows what a basic low end DSLR is capable of from suburban light
18-55mm std lens @ 28mm, ISO 800, f5.6, 20 sec.
24-12-2011, 09:11 AM
how very creative of you steve! nice work :D
24-12-2011, 09:16 AM
Was great to catch up with Rod and RB this morning, such a shame about the clouds. I can't believe such a big thick bank of cloud sat right over the top of Lovejoy for 2 hours. It just teased us.
I've got a timelapse that will look good as a star field up around crux, but not much in the way of a comet :)
Don't think I'll be able to try again for a few days, being xmas day tomorrow, and leaving for holidays the day after.
24-12-2011, 09:25 AM
Got up about 4am, should have been earlier but managed a couple of shots down my driveway which gives a horizon view. And clouds coming in but you can just see the tail through cloud gaps.
Konica Minolta Dynax 7D ISO 800, 20 secs f5.6 Lens at 24mm single frame, untracked. ( my clever wee 18-70 KM lens.)
I have a few other frames including a later, lighter one which just shows it I think but you have to know what you're looking for.
I'll try and get up earlier, 3am or so over the weekend. Darker skies and better visibility of the tail hopefully but wife is impressed with the pic so far.
Least I can say I've seen it and gotten an image. :thumbsup: :D
Wow, great images and experiences everyone!!
Haha, that looks great Steve!!:thumbsup:
I too had luck this morning when I headed west with Carl (renormalised). Tville had light cloud , everywhere, but when we stopped the car 20 min west at 4 am the skies were brilliant!! Alas, the predawn light started way too early. About to check images now. ;)
24-12-2011, 09:43 AM
Saw it this morning through broken cloud over the ocean on Sydney's northern beaches. Quite bright although the head was still below the horizon. The clouds shut the show down but worth getting up for. From what I recall the tail is brighter and longer than Halley was in its early morning shows. The tail was at least 30 deg long with some more of it yet to rise. I think I'll have another try tonight although it may be easy to mistake the comet tail for Santa's contrail.
24-12-2011, 09:45 AM
Just checking through some frames I shot at 18mm this morning & found this:
Checked on Heavens Above and sure enough, it's an ISS pass. A single 1-min exposure, Canon 400D. 4:30am, 24 Dec 2011 local time (17:30, 23 Dec 2011 UT).
ha, great Rob!! Both in unison. :thumbsup:
You have brought up an interesting dilemma for those shooting in the wee hours of tomorrow Monte, and something we all need to be aware of. I think Heavens-com give the coordinates for the sleigh, but would be great to get them in an image too. ;)
24-12-2011, 10:04 AM
Took this shot this morning with my mate Paul Brown overlooking Hill 60 at Port Kembla using Canon 40 and 28mm F2.5 lens on a tripod.
24-12-2011, 10:24 AM
And ISS and comet in one frame ... !! Comet tail is just visible in lower left below the cloud. I spotted ISS before in the Pic but didn't realsie the tail wa faintly visible as well.
KM Dynax 7d, ISO1600 10 sec 24 mm.
I took a few wideviews above as well but I'll post those elsewhere.
24-12-2011, 11:13 AM
cloudy again and no sight of lovejoy :(
another dawn gone and no sight
Awesome pics everyone !!!
24-12-2011, 11:27 AM
Keep at it, you will eventually be rewarded... good luck.
Mine from this morning,and as I said earlier, well worth the effort to head away from the city lights!!
24-12-2011, 12:14 PM
Well done Liz :)
24-12-2011, 12:57 PM
I couldn't pass up the opportunity to catch this one. Despite discouraging early cloud, perseverance won out and I managed to catch the comet from the Mt Lofty Ranges.
Photo taken with a Sony A33, 50mm, ISO800.
24-12-2011, 01:03 PM
Lovely shot Liz. This is gonna be awesome over the next few days with Lovejoy embedded in the Milky Way. Let's hope it hangs in there for another week.
24-12-2011, 01:03 PM
Well done on all the great shots. It sure is well worth the effort.
I love your picture Liz, wonderful detail and color. :thumbsup:
24-12-2011, 01:21 PM
My wife and I went out last night to see what we could find (after being unable to find any site with visibility times etc.). It was foggy in the lower parts of town so we proceeded up the hill to the lookout that faces west (with a nice view of the east between some trees).
This was like nothing I'd ever experienced and I'm glad that I stayed up until 3:30am to catch it.
This shot was taken with a Canon EOS 40D, ISO 200, 60s exposure @ 17mm. It's a blend of two images, the other a 106s exposure at ISO 500. The second image was used to reveal the tree, as it was too noisy to be used for the other half of the image.
We're planning on going back out there tonight, so any more updates will be posted to my Google+ photography page at http://links.solidinc.org/gplusphotography
24-12-2011, 02:02 PM
here's my full story and images: http://philhart.com/content/comet-lovejoy
awesome comet, shame about the sleep.. there's something particularly harsh about an alarm setting that starts with a 2!
24-12-2011, 02:05 PM
Its driving me nuts.. for years i have actively been putting comet data in stellarium and looking around on the net for possible future comets that have a tail visible... The time has come to see another great one and ITS FR%%%EN RAINING NON STOP!! up yours clouds and bad weather..
Mind you we do need the rain but still cmon give me a break
24-12-2011, 04:03 PM
Here's my first attempts at the comet. I had my head buried in the sand and only found out about it yesterday after seeing it on the general news media! Anyway I managed to head up to the East side of the Adelaide Hills last night to the Tungkillo lookout to get a view looking towards Mannum and Murray Bridge. Unfortunately there was cloud on the horizon that stayed all night but i still managed to get some decent views and images.
I quickly processed these in CS5 and they probably need a bit more work yet but I ran out of time! Taken with Nikon D7000, 18-105mm or Tokina 12-24mm. ISO 1600-5000, 20-30sec, f4.
Image 1 has a nice bright satellite that was heading towards the comet and Murray Bridge!
Image 2 is a cropped version of the very next image with the satellite, a small meteor (upper left), car headlights streak, town lights, Milky Way and the comet! I like all the different light sources in that one!
Image 3 is a 50mm shot
Image 4 I managed to see the head of the comet
Image 5 is a wide angle, 12mm with Mannum on the left and Murray Bridge right.
Off to Bordertown today so another dark sky beckons, although tomorrow night looks like being cloudy. I'm sure I get some later on though. ;)
Thank you Andrew, Colin and Wade for your kind works, it is a delight to be out the snapping away at this glorious comet. Bring on tomorrow morning, with or without Santa!!
Beautiful images there too Wayne, some lovely detail in the tail!! :thumbsup:
24-12-2011, 05:12 PM
Thanks Liz. And yours is really nice too! Phil - yours are great as always. We're all taking some great shots and it doesn't matter what with - they all shoot the comet fantastically well. It does help when you have a good subject matter I guess too! :thumbsup:
24-12-2011, 05:49 PM
Thanks Grahame. I'm thinking of driving south east after xmas, maybe Norseman/Esperance way? Where are you headed?
:sadeyes: wont play Suzy, here on the one on FB.
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