Comet ISON Has Company

Newly discovered Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy.  Credit: Michael Jaeger

Newly discovered Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy. Credit: Michael Jaeger

Well how about this? Comet ISON will have company in the sky in the form of another comet!

This new comet is the just discovered C/2013 R1 Lovejoy. The discovery was announced on September 9 after a couple of nights of observations (photographic) by discoverer Terry Lovejoy in Australia. This is Lovejoy’s fourth discovery, very good work.

Right now the comet is near the constellation of Orion but it is only a magnitude 14 to 14.5 so it’s going to take a fairly large backyard scope, better than about 200 mm or so. In fact Lovejoy found this one with a 200 mm (8-inch) scope and did that photographically. I think I’d need to use a CCD with my 250mm (10-inch) scope too. A magnitude 14 comet isn’t really like a mag 14 star, the light is more diffuse.

The best guess for eventual brightening for this particular Lovejoy comet is up to about a mag 8, so it could be a binocular target in the right location in November but a small scope would be better – time will tell.

I’ll keep you posted. Actually tomorrow I will point you to some free software where you can enter the comet data and keep an eye on where it is in the sky and a whole lot more.

The photo above was taken on 10 September by Michael Jaeger, no wonder it is so good, Jaeger is exceptionally adept at astrophotography. The streak you see to the right of the comet is a geostationary satellite.

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