24 December 2011

We have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. Comet Lovejoy over Tharwa

| johnboy
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comet lovejoy

John Lafferty has sent in these great pictures of Comet Lovejoy blazing away south of Tharwa this morning with this note:

Comet Lovejoy as seen from just south of Tharwa this morning. If the skies are clear it should be visible due south tomorrow, but it does vanish by about 5am.

Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3) is a periodic comet, discovered on November 27th 2011, by amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy.

The comet’s path took it through the Sun’s corona on December 16th 2011 and it passed approximately 140,000 kms above the Sun’s surface. It was not expected to survive the encounter, but Sun-monitoring spacecraft, observed the comet emerge from the corona intact

The comet nucleus of Lovejoy is estimated to be as much as 500m before the passage through the corona of the sun. At its brightest the comet had an apparent magnitude of around –4 (about as bright as the planet Venus). It is the brightest comet to appear since Comet McNaught of 2007, which shone at visual magnitude –5.5.

comet lovejoy

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Thanks Al. Lovejoy is a pretty impressive ‘amateur’ – discovered 3 comets and now has an asteroid named after him. Not bad for a Brisbane boy who fiddles with cameras and telescopes for a hobby!

Gungahlin Al3:23 pm 26 Dec 11

Oh – and a link to information about the Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy:

Gungahlin Al3:20 pm 26 Dec 11

Great shots. I so wish Santa had delivered a Canon 550… My crappy camera didn’t even capture a visible comet. But when we ventured out at 3:30 on Christmas morning we did have a fantastic viewing session of the comet and much more:

Thanks for the pix – awesome to think that this came so close to the Sun and is now visible over Tharwa!

I think that Comet Lovejoy is a wonderful name. Can we have a Comet Moneypenny? BTW, who is Lovejoy?

Awesome! Fantastic photos

Watch out Parliament house 🙂

I figure we have only a day or too more of viewing before it fades away. I’m tempted to go on a long drive to somewhere really dark tonight.

GardeningGirl2:25 pm 24 Dec 11

Great photos!

Thanks for the comments.
More of my images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/25223017@N00/
And another photographer captured some really excellent images this morning http://www.flickr.com/photos/d-eye/sets/72157628541080861/

And such a wonderful name. I’m glad it wasn’t discovered by a Mr Smith. Or a Mr 500278/3.

Hot damn! Great work, John – thanks! 😀

Great photos John and thanks for bringing it to our attention. I will be up early tomorrow to look.

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