With the recent launch of the Rosetta ground-based campaign to observe comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from April until December 2015, I thought I would publish some maps showing where we might be able to find Comet 67P later this summer.
The comet has already been recovered by imagers in Chile.
Realistically us observers based in the UK are unlikely to pick it up until mid – late July and onwards.
The comet will at this time be moving through Taurus and into Gemini. It will be visible fairly low in the early morning eastern sky. It should be about 12th even 11th magnitude at this time, and that’s about the brightest it will get, being somewhat around the Sun in it’s orbit
This map shows the path of the comet below as seen from Earth.
So it is in a very distinct and easy to find part of the sky. Mid-month sees the comet passing between The Pleiades and Hyades open star clusters and out through the horns of the Bull by the end of July .
On the 8th of August, just 5 days before perihelion, the comet passes straight through the small open cluster NGC2158. This is a smaller cluster right next door to the much bigger M35 (NGC 2168). It just skirts M35 a little while later.
This is shown in the map below.
So we have some very familiar and distinct markers to help us find this very interesting comet. It is certainly a unique opportunity to observe a comet with a space probe going round it that I certainly don’t want to miss.
More on the ground-based campaign available here:
Maps produced using the free Planetarium Software C2A:
Amateur astronomers are being called on to take part in a Rosetta ground-based campaign to observe comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from April until December 2015.
Click on this link for more details.
There is also a Facebook group dedicated to it.
Some dedicated observers have already recovered the comet now it has passed solar conjunction.
Image below from their Web site:
Realistically us in the UK are unlikely to get hold of it until late July.
The comet will at this time be moving through Taurus and into Gemini, and visible fairly low in the early morning eastern sky. It could be about 11th or 12th magnitude at this time, and that’s about the brightest it will get.
Map shows the path of the comet below.
On the 8th of August, just 5 days before perihelion, the comet passes straight through the small open cluster NGC2158, which is a smaller cluster right next door to the much bigger M35 (NGC 2168).
So there really is no excuses for not knowing where to look.
Before my talk last night we were treated to a fine Sun Dog to the side of the observatory of Lincoln Astronomical Society.
I did my talk entitled “In the Footsteps of Piazzi Smyth – Astronomical Adventures in Tenerife” to Lincoln Astronomical Society last night.
There were about 40 people attending that evening and if the multitude of questions afterwards are anything to go by my talk went down very well indeed.
Many thanks to Lincoln Astronomical Society for giving me such a warm reception in their wonderful facilities.
I really enjoyed the evening, making the journey there well worth taking.
Hopefully they will have me back for another talk in the not too distant future.
It was gone 9pm BST before it finally got dark. By the time I got set up and the skies were finally dark enough Comet C/2015 F3 (SWAN) was reachable, but disappearing rapidly behind my house. Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 wouldn’t be too far away either. I restricted myself to short exposures expecting the comet to slip behind the eves of the house all too soon. I was surprised to get 34x 40 second exposures before it finally slipped from view. It’s still showing a short tail. Image taken using 190 Mac-Newt and D5100 Nikon DSLR, so a much closer view that I have been taking previously.
On the 22nd of March I finally got a chance to test out my Venus.
Using my 190 Mac-Newt and a Barlow lens, I focussed on a bright star and then slew to Venus over in the western sky.
Using my DMK41 camera I adjusted the exposure to capture the planet, but not over-expose it.
I took 1 minute AVI files of the planet and then processed them in Registax.
This was the best of the lot.
Although a bit hazy, it does look like the filter is just about bringing out some very subtle cloud features.
If I can get the image scale a bit bigger, especially as Venus gets nearer to Earth over the next few months, I should hopefully be able to reveal even more.
Last night I did my ever popular multi-media presentation “Rosetta & Philae: From Concept to Reality”, to Birmingham Astronomical Society last night.
As per usual the talk went down extremely well.
My next talk is at Lincoln Astronomical Society on the 7th of April when I will be talking about “In the Footsteps of Piazzi Smyth: Astronomical Adventures in Tenerife”.
My Sky Diary for April 2015 is now available for free download in two pdf file formats from my Web site. A short printable version and a long version with full graphics.
It includes all the latest details about the now fading Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2.
It looked hopeless at the start of the partial solar eclipse as there was mist and thick cloud at work.
But, as the Moon started to encroach onto the Suns disk, the clouds started to break and the event was starting to be revealed.
We could easily see the Eclipse progressing throughout without the eclipse glasses and followed it right through to Maximum and beyond. Skies were almost completely clear by the end of the eclipse.
Despite the cloud and a few forgotten items, I did manage to get some images through my 80mm refractor.
In the original images you can see the profile of the Moon is not smooth and the mountains along the Lunar limb show up really well in silhouette.
A great way to spend time at work with the blessing of my boss.
Irregular Lunar Limb Profile.
Safely Observing the Eclipse.
Tonight I will be talking to Northants Amateur Astronomers.
Tomorrow evening I will be visiting North Essex Astronomical Society.
Both groups have booked me for my popular multi-media presentation,
Rosetta & Philae: From Concept to Reality.
Both groups feel like old friends now, as I have been to talk to each of them a number of times.
I am really looking forward to bringing the Rosetta & Philae, Comet 67P mission to life for them.
If you are in the area of these two groups on these evenings, do come along and say “Hello”.
Although fading, comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 is still (just) above naked eye visibility. Tonight it was passing close to the star cluster NGC 457 in Cassiopeia. This lovely cluster of stars is also known as The Owl Cluster. The field of view on my ED80 telescope was wide enough to easily get both objects in the same field of view.
Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 and The Owl Cluster
I managed to get a reasonable image of both objects despite the thin cloud that spoiled the view somewhat. You can see some brightness around the cluster caused by the cloud interfering.
Comet Lovejoy continues to give.