You can see this comet for yourself. The comet C/2014 Q2 or Comet Lovejoy is easily visible with binoculars. If you can see the constellation Orion and Taurus you should be all set.
I just used the finders chart from NASA (see it here). Stepped out on back porch and after watching a satellite pass over, found the Comet in just a couple of minutes. I did use binoculars (could not see the comet otherwise). The binoculars were nothing special so if you have a pair handy give it a try. If you have a even a small telescope this looks really cool.
Cloudy skies? The comet will be around for a bit so don’t worry if you have to wait a short time.
Could it be visible with the naked eye? I would think so. I am going to try in the morning, the best skies I get. I could not see it a while ago, too cold to be outside for too long and not be well prepared, so I can’t say for sure.
The Philae lander is now in an “idle mode” in which most of the systems on board are shut down, including communications.
Before going to sleep, Philae was able to send all of the science data collected so far and completed its main mission in the 57 hours on the comet surface.
Stephan Ulamec, Lander Manager said “This machine performed magnificently under tough conditions, and we can be fully proud of the incredible scientific success Philae has delivered.”
Contact with Philae was lost at 00:36 UT (20:36 EST for the US), according to Rosetta Blog this was about the time of a scheduled loss of signal anyway as Rosetta which was acting as a repeater orbited out of sight of Philae.
Rosetta mission control did try to rotate the lander as was reported and with that effort there was a possibility of communications at 10:00 UTC (05:00 EST) this morning (15 Nov) so Rosetta was listening but no signal came.
As Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko gets closer to the Sun there is a possibility enough sunlight will eventually revive the batteries enough to get Philae back on-line. Still I have to wonder if the deep discharge state of the batteries will preclude that given the time and cold environment – time will tell.
Philae is pretty close to a cliff that will shadow the solar panels for much of a day and this will limit how much Philae will be able to do at least in the short term. I’m pretty sure ESA is studying how to squeeze the most out of what they have you can be sure of that.
ESA is live streaming the media briefings, you can find out when by going to Rosetta Blog or you can check the Live Stream page.
Don’t forget about Twitter, I am on the run a lot the past couple days and it has been great for keeping up you can get all the images and briefings there too.
As the Philae lander approached comet 67P/G-C it used the ROLIS instrument to take this image at 14:38:41 UT from just 3 km / 1.9 miles above the surface.
The ROLIS instrument looks downward during descent and gets close up views after landing so texture and microsturcture of surface materials.
Yes, that is part of the lander you see in the upper right.
ROLIS (ROsetta Lander Imaging System) is a descent and close-up camera on the Philae Lander. It has been developed by the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin.
I had to include the image below, I think it’s just excellent. We are looking at the Philae lander shortly after being released from the mother ship (Rosetta) after a 10 year trip together on this totally amazing mission.
No word yet on what is going on with the harpoons (anchors), but ESA did mention “Maybe today we didn’t just land once…we even landed twice!”
There will be plenty more images here, but check out the Rosetta Blog.
An image on 04 November shows some activity in the way of the jets emanating from the central region of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve developed quite an interest in what the cometary “soil” is like and how it got to be the way it is. Happily we could get more clues just watching the Philae lander land on Wednesday. If the composition is very fine we could see quite a cloud kicked up relative to how much is at the landing site of course.
If you would like the four individual panels making up this image you can get them at Comet Watch
This image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was obtained on October 30, 2014 by the OSIRIS scientific imaging system on the Rosetta spacecraft. The right half is obscured by darkness. The image was taken from a distance of approximately 18.6 miles (30 kilometers).
Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team