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Old 03-11-2013, 06:59 PM
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Observing Report: Comet C2013 R1 Lovejoy - 3/11/13.


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Observing Report: Comet C2013 R1 Lovejoy.

3rd November, 2013.
1am – 3.15am.


Equipment: 10” f/5 Newtonian on dobsonian base.
Eyepieces: Pentax XW 5 (240x), XW7 (170x), XW10 (120x), Denkenmier 15mm (80x) . No filters.


Sketch info: Here’s my dodgy sketch- am not the best sketcher around! The first sketch is using 80x. The second sketch is about the size at 240x- however, the detail is accurate as per 120x (just the size is larger!).


Report:
120x: Comet is a good size and hard to miss. Large diffuse coma, brightening towards middle. Slight elongation to the east seen at times. Stellar core. At first I needed to use averted vision to pick up the stellar core but as the seeing improved, it was easy to spot.
This magnification gave the best overall view.

240x: It filled up a good portion of the 72 degree widefield eyepiece, however there was no detail. Even the stellar core could not be made out. Everything was smudgy.

170x: Very slight increase in detail to 240x, but not much to see.

80x: Much smaller, but was a pleasing view. I found it hard to make out the fuzzier outer coma graduating to the brighter inner coma, so appeared overall the same for me. Stellar core still very noticeable. Elongation to the east could be made out. A short thin streak extending from the elongated coma was visible just the once. Clouds rolled in so couldn’t observe further. Very easy to find at 80x.



And now for the filler details:
I started observing out in the front yard as it was my best view at the time, as it was rising at 1am at 16 degrees. Street light outside floodlit next door’s driveway making it so bright. Trying to keep my distance from the overhanging grevillea trea to the right of me- wouldn’t be good for the mirror getting it covered in honey, yikes. Every mosquito in the front yard tried to bite me. A possum ran in front of me, scared the hell out of me. Around 2am, my guide star, Altarf in Cancer is now behind a palm tree, so time to move. Uh-oh, dob is stuck doesn’t want to move, what’s going on I say so I take a look. One of the 4 wheels has worked loose and decided to jam up against the base. Grizzle, grumble, I had to drag that thing lifted up on 2 wheels all the way to the back of the house to continue my observations, took me ages. Re-aligned the electronic guidance. Phew, sat down for a moment to gather my breath and enjoy the northerly view. I see Gemini gracing the sky with Castor and Pollux dazzling in their glory. His majesty, Jupiter snuggling up to the twins right side. It was a beautiful moment to embrace. So as a quick treat, I observed Jupiter- really wasn’t the best move as my now dark adapted eye felt like it was popping out its socket from shock. But behold! What a beautiful sight I see- Europa is hugging the edge of Jupiter just about to disappear behind him. It looked like Jupiter had a pimple! This is the first time I’ve seen a moon just about to be occulted, so it was very special. Now, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to also see The Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392) sitting just one degree away. It was so close in fact, that one of the very bright diffraction spikes off Jupiter connected it. So this is my first time observing this planetary nebula. The central star was easily bright and visible while the outer ring blinked in and out. I couldn’t help wonder how similar this is to the Eight Burst Nebula (NGC 3132). Okay, so now 10 mins or so on, I’m now back to observing comet Lovejoy till 3.15am until the clouds rolled in. And as soon as that happened, the batteries died in my electronic guidance so it was all very timely. I could’ve observed longer without it though as the comet was sitting a mere three degrees from Altarf . Pays to know your stars lol.



Thanks for reading,
Suzy.

P.S. Boy, I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted an obs report here- my apologies guys and I will endeavor to do so a bit more often like I used to. I've just been very slack at typing up my reports lately grrrr.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:58 PM
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cometcatcher (Kevin)
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Good report and sketch Suzy.

I'm convinced comets attract clouds as every night I've tried to get it lately the clouds roll in as soon as it rises.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:39 PM
noeyedeer (Matt)
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I enjoyed your obs Suzy. makes me want to wish I could get up earlier and have a look. I will one day, because I havnt seen a comet since Halley's, and I think I was too young to appreciate the whole thing being 8 or 9.

with so many around within a decent magnitude I think I should have a looksee with the dob. ps, love the possum part haha

matt
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:40 AM
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Thanks Kevin
Re clouds- I just took a look at your location when you whinged about clouds- "Cloudy Mackay"

I guess you probably haven't seen comet ISON yet either. It better hurry up & brighten as its only got a few weeks to go till perihilion. Mag 9ish now is simply not good enough *Sigh* right now is the last chance us southerners will get to visually observe it with the moon out the way. So you better do some serious talking to some rain gods or something! Who'd have thought Comet Lovejoy would out perform Ison at the moment- especially as Lovejoy is actually further away!


Thank you Matt!
That possum would've been a mentally scarred possum if it came any closer! . Man, they just jump and run out of nowhere! One day I was observing with a few other people right up beside the house on the concrete, and this random (!) possum came out of nowhere- no noise did it make- and planted itself right by my foot! Other two people were too busy talking to notice and they saw the look of fear on me alongside a massive *gasp* and looked down. Something to the tunes of "oh cute little thing yadda yadda" and started hand feeding it. What possum is so forward to do all those things and I'm in suburbia! If I was alone and that happened (cause that like scarred me for life in the dark), nothing about that whole incident would've been pretty. I like possums- they just need to keep their distance in the dark. I do go all goo-goo-ga-ga tho when I see babies with their parents tho- so sweet!

Hurry up and get onto comet Lovejoy while the moons out the way- it's so easy to spot. Sounds like you're way overdue for a comet! You can catch up on sleep whenever . Take a leaf out of my book- I last went to sleep on friday night and now it's 1.30am Monday morning- Extreme astronomy. Oh, I just yawned- there's a good sign!
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzy View Post
Who'd have thought Comet Lovejoy would out perform Ison at the moment- especially as Lovejoy is actually further away!
Suzy, S1 ISON is 1.15 AU from Earth where R1 Lovejoy is 0.58AU. The closer distance of R1 Lovejoy is why it's putting on the better show.

I've photographed both but seen neither.
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:07 PM
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gaa_ian (Ian)
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You have inspired me for another comet viewing session Suzy. I took 3 other club members out a few weeks ago and it was pretty underwhelming ! So perhaps this time take the extra effort to set up the LX-90, rather than the little Astroscan ? At least Lovejoy should be worth the effort & we should get better views of Ison here at 12.2 S towards the end of the month.
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:48 PM
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astroron (Ron)
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Enjoyed your report Suzy the sketches area good indication of what I saw,I did see a faint extension of a tail at the bottom as well though in my 13mmnagler. 140xmag.
The main tail went out of the field of my eyepiece which has a 35 arc minute field.
Cheers
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:19 PM
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Ian, oh yes please have a go, it'll be worth it!
I spend two mornings last new moon (when it was fainter) trying to find it when it was in Monoceros but to no avail. But now, it really is hard to miss!

Ron- show off you.
Oh I would've had a lot of fun with that sketch!
The hint of tail that I saw once in the last ep used (the 15mmm), I didn't sketch, as it was there and gone as clouds then started to roll in. grrrr. I decided for it to be sketch worthy, it needed to be in my sights for longer.
I'm envious of your views!
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:25 AM
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Hey Suzy, I managed to drag myself out of bed at 4:40am today, just before 1st light an got a good look at Comet Lovejoy. Easily seen in 8x Binoculars & looked great at 15x in my widefield Astroscan. This was from the light polluted downtown Nhulunbuy.
So I look forward to the view on Saturday morning when I take a group of people out to a dark sky spot, just out of town. I even did a little sketch :-)
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Old 08-11-2013, 07:40 PM
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Great to hear Ian!
Wishing you clear skies for Saturday morning .


Kevin, aplogies, I should've made it clearer- I meant Lovejoy is further from the sun than ISON, not Earth. I thought ISON would be out performing Lovejoy being closer to the sun .
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:25 AM
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Shark Bait (Stu)
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Great write up Suzy.

The kids were awake at 3:30am this morning so it was a good chance to grab the bino's to track down this comet. From my suburban street and close to street lights, this comet was an easy find through handheld 7x50's. If the weather holds, I will get the scope onto it tonight.
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Old 16-11-2013, 04:43 PM
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Thanks Stu .
It's quite a beauty isn't it.
I hope the kids enjoyed the viewing too.
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Old 16-11-2013, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzy View Post
Kevin, aplogies, I should've made it clearer- I meant Lovejoy is further from the sun than ISON, not Earth. I thought ISON would be out performing Lovejoy being closer to the sun .
There are a number of factors that make one comet perform over another. Distance of the comet to both the Sun and Earth have to be taken into account, comet size and how active it is. Another is tail angle. A comet may have a beautiful long tail but if the geometry is such that we look down the tail rather than broadside, the view is poor.

Sorry I took a week to respond. And I still can't find half the buttons on facebook!
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Old 19-11-2013, 12:41 AM
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Thanks Kevin .
And no problem with the delay
I hope you get fb sorted out eventually,give me ahoy if you need some help.
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