Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 is certainly giving us a great show, but it now looks likes it’s fading.
The coma looks a bit dimmer and the tail, although still showing a lot of activity, definitely not as distinctive now.
But it’s still a great comet. Managed to get 20 subs to produce this image.
A distinct kink can be seen in the tail.
I then tried adding my DMK41 camera to the ED80 with a focal reducer to get a close up view of the tail structure around the coma.
I should have used the light pollution filter for this, but looking at the amount of structure starting to be shown, this technique shows a lot of promise. It’s definitely something to try another night.
Yet another frustrating evening of clear skies that clouded over almost as soon as it got dark. I did manage to grab 7 subs to create this image of Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 before it clouded over yet again.
Yet again, the appearance of the comet has changed markedly.
It looks like it will clear again later, so fingers and everything are now crossed so I can improve on this image.
It was a cold crisp night. I just had to spend time on Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2.
Now very high up mid evening it was an easy naked eye object. Using my Christmas binoculars it was easily seen with a green tint and I “thought” I could detect the tail, but that was probably wishful thinking.
So I spent the time imaging with my 80mm refractor. It worked so well last time, so why not tonight?
I wasn’t disappointed.
I imaged the comet from 18:35 until 22:50 when the sky got a bit more hazy.
I took 2 minute subs.
Quickly processing images from the beginning and end of the session, I could see that the morphology of the comets tail/s had changed markedly.
Image from the beginning of the session.
Image from the end of the session.
(Ignore the colour differences. I’m tired and need my sleep).
So I processed my images in batches of 17 to make 7 individual images in total. The changes are so clear to see that I made an animation from the images.
My head cleared a bit form my cold. The wind was howling, but it was clear. I couldn’t miss this, even if it was a brief spell.
I tried with a wide angle camera lens first to get Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 in relation to the Pleiades & Hyades.
I then used the 80mm refractor to image while guiding on the comet.
I was absolutely stunned with the results. A disconnection event could be seen as a brighter patch on the left hand side of the image.
There will be a close pass of Asteroid 2004 BL86 to the Earth on the night of the 26th – 27th of January.
The asteroid is about 0.3 miles across, BUT there is no need to panic!!!
It will pass us safely at about 745,000 miles away, almost 3 times the distance of the Moon.
It should be visible at about magnitude 8.8 as it heads northwards from Hydra, through Cancer and into Leo in the early hours of the 27th of January.
Wide field map showing the path of the asteroid Position shown at 30 minute intervals). Detailed maps of the path shown below. (Click on map for bigger version)
It won’t be visible to the naked eye, but should be bright enough to be visible with binoculars or a small telescope.
As you can see it will pass just to one side of the wonderful open star cluster Messier 44 (The Beehive Cluster).
Should be worth setting the alarm for on that Tuesday morning.
More detailed maps.
3. Asteroid Path from 03:40 – 06:10 as it passes Praesepe.
4. Close up of the Asteroid as it passes Praesepe. Position shown at 2 minute intervals.
Maps created using the free planetarium software C2A
The asteroid will still be visible from the UK the next evening amongst the feet of Ursa Major. It will have faded to 10th magnitude but should still be an easy telescopic object to the west of the bowl of The Plough.
5. Path of 2004 BL68 to the west of the bowl of the Plough 27th January.(Position shown at 3 hour intervals.)
6. Closer view of the same path.
I had to get up early and process my images some more.
First off is an animation showing the movement of the comet over about 40 minutes while I was imaging.
Second movie shows the comets movement over about 2 hours in 80mm refractor.
Secondly, these two black and white images show the comet about 3 hours apart.
The movement of the delicate tails away from the comets coma can be clearly seen as they are further away in the lower image.
Finally got a clear night with Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 at a reasonable altitude located just below Taurus.
First image taken through 180 Mac Newt. Shows some streamers coming out of the coma, but too small a field of view to see much of the tail.
Image turned to monochrome and inverted to show up the streamers a bit better.
I then switched to imaging through an ED80 for the next set of images.
Now that’s a definite improvement…
And now the comet with the stars added back (just in case you missed them).
The maps below show the location of Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 over the next three months. Position shown at 2 day intervals at 0h UT.
Image of comet Lovejoy close to Globular Cluster M76 – 28/12/2014 – Dave Eagle
Click on each map for a bigger view.
Map 2. Path of Comet during February.
Maps generated using the free planetarium software C2A.
I visited The Open University Astronomy Club to present my talk about basic astrophotography and image processing.
They were a very friendly and enthusiastic group and the presentation and demonstrations of image stacking and post-processing went down very well.
They want me to go back later in the year to do show some more processing techniques.
My Sky Diary for January 2015 in two pdf file formats (Short & Long version) is now available for free download from my Web site. It includes the latest details about Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2. http://www.eagleseye.me.uk/SkyDiary.html