Comet Lovejoy survived it’s encounter with the Sun, and is now putting on fine display in the southern hemisphere. This video was made by Australian amateur astronomer Colin Legg.
The BAA’s Denis Buczynski writes:
The ground based discovery of this Kreutz group sungrazer by Australian amateur Terry Lovejoy on 2011 November 27 has been followed closely by comet enthusiasts around the world as it headed towards perihelion passage on December 16. The spectacular views of the comet arrived at our computer screens via a medley of solar monitoring spacecraft. The comet survived its perihelion passage and has now begun its retreat from the Sun. There were some predictions, by comet experts, that the comet would disintegrate, as had been the case with many other sungrazers. Astonishing images were received showing the comet being disrupted during its close approach to the solar surface, losing it tail in the process. However the comet then appeared to brighten and another tail emerged from the brilliant cometary head. The link below will allow the reader to follow the development of the comet via the space imagery.
As the solar elongation grew the possibility of seeing a daylight comet increased. A comparison with the brilliant sungrazer C/1965 S1 Ikeya-Seki seen in daylight in 1965 is being made. The following link shows that daylight imaging has been achieved (extreme care must be taken during this type of imaging) with remarkably simple equipment and techniques:
Observers in the southern hemisphere are now beginning to see the comet rising in the early morning dawn sky. What the future developments are for this remarkable comet will be seen in images and observations made during the next few weeks. The link below shows a video of the comet and moon rising from a dark sky site in Western Australia made by Colin Legg .
Comet P/2011w2 Rinner was discovered on 28th November by Claudine Rinner using a 0.5m telescope in Morocco, showing that amateur astronomers can make comet discoveries and that searching/blinking
ccd frames is still worthwhile.
Currently it is rather faint though, at 17th magnitude.
BAA member Denis Buczynski was able to image it in the morning of November 30th using a Celestron C14 and FLI Maxcam, from his home observatory at Tarbatness, Scotland.
As Comet Garradd makes its lazy sweep across the night sky, after last weeks close encounter with M71, this week the comet will cross just under the popular asterism known as the Coathanger. Also known as Brocchi’s Cluster and catalogued as Collinder 399 – today, though, it is generally recognised to be just an asterism, a chance collection of stars making up a pattern, rather than a true cluster of stars that were created at much the same time.
The Coathanger also has a special place in the heart of the BAA, as one of the Association’s most active observers, George Alcock, discovered a nova there in 1976.
This chart shows the comets path over the next few days.
This comet is easy with 10×50 binoculars, and is straightforward to find by locating the lovely double star Albireo (Beta Cygni), then hang down south and you will come to the Coathanger, and just under the Coathanger will be found comet Garradd.
If you manage to capture an image of this, please send it in for our picture of the week spot.