Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy Approaching

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Discovered in August 2014 by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy (at its fifth comet discovery), this comet is putting on a nice show. It is now shining at magnitude 4, therefore within naked-eye visibility, but only under a dark sky, in the constellation Eridanus. During the month of January, the visibility conditions will improve further, as it is rapidly heading towards more northern declinations. (For more info, please check out e.g. Sky & Telescope's website).

I imaged comet Lovejoy on December 27th, 2014, from the Apennines (Northern Italy), when it was very low in the sky at -27° declination. For this reason, I had a hard time processing the raw frames, because of strong light pollution gradients.

The best conditions will occur between the 15th and the 20th of January, when the New Moon will not hinder observation and the comet will most likely be shining brighter at 4 or even 3.5 magnitude. It is worth noting that this comet is not really a memorable object, but nevertheless those who will be patient enough to drive to a dark location and point a pair of binoculars at it, will not be disappointed.

The pictures in this post were taken with a Canon 6D and a Pentax 75 refractor; please see their respective captions for more technical info. The first picture is more realistic, in that it clearly shows the motion of the comet through the stars, while in the one below, which is a bit more processed, the comet is shown still with respect to the background stars. Enjoy!

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