Comet Lovejoy (Part 2)


You may recall an image I made of Comet Lovejoy in 2011 seen at dawn on the beach at Bribie Island, Australia:


I thought Comet Lovejoy had made it's pass through our part of the solar system and headed back out into the Oort cloud in deep space to regroup, never to return again for many thousands of years.

Imagine my surprise when a friend called me the other day and said "are you going out to shoot comet Lovejoy next week?" At first I thought my friend was nuts, until I looked into it a bit further and saw in Sky and Telescope that sure enough, Comet Lovejoy was back. Only, this time it was a completely different comet...discovered by the same person in Australia.

This comet is amazing the fifth comet discovered by amateur Australian astronomer Terry Lovejoy. Can you imagine discovering five comets? I can't. I can barely remember to take the trash out.

I went out last night on a client sunset timelapse shoot, and on the way home I dipped into the meadow at Squaw Valley while it was still dusk, and had a go at seeing if I could find the new and improved Comet Lovejoy (2014Q2 so as to not be confused with the "old" one from 2011).

Sure enough, I pointed my camera to the west of Orion's belt, and there it was. Here's a view of the comet (greenish looking blob about the same size as the nearby stars towards the top of the image about halfway across):


And here's a closeup view fro a crop shot with my 70-200mm at 200:



Supposedly the comet has already passed as close to earth as it will come on it's current orbit (it won't return for 8,000 years). But, it may get a touch brighter as it gets closer to the sun.

Here's a chart from S&T showing where to find it:

Look for Orion to rise right at sunset in the East. Happy hunting!