The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

An Open Letter From Comet Lovejoy

Dear Earthlings,

I see you have been really excited about Comet ISON. There was a lot of hype about it being the “Comet of the Century”, “Brighter than the full Moon” and a “Once in a lifetime experience”.  I am happy my comet brother seems to have survived his close pass to the Sun. I wish ISON nothing but the best.

However, I can’t help but feeling a little ignored over here. I know I was only discovered on September 7th so maybe I kind of snuck up on you. I was originally only forecast to reach 8th magnitude according to Universe Today so maybe people thought you would need a big telescope to see me.

But hey, I have been working hard to put on a good show for you and I don’t feel like anyone is paying much attention to me. I have brightened up a lot more than expected and can be seen with the naked eye from a moderately dark site. I bet most city dwellers could find me with binoculars without too much difficulty. Heck, you can even photograph me with off the shelf cameras. Look at this shot from this morning taken with a Canon 60D and Ef-s 55-250mm zoom lens. Okay, he used an iOptron Skytracker to take a longer exposure, but I think I am looking pretty good here!

IMG_2706

Come on, look at that tail! If you look close, I think you can tell there are two tails!

I am about at my brightest and best right now. I am going to start slowly fading as I get farther away from Earth but I think you have a few more weeks to take a shot at seeing me. I am hanging below the handle of the Big Dipper right now, one of the easiest things to find in the sky. Here is a finder chart from Heavens Above to help you out. Change the date and time if you need to because I move quick!

Okay, I am a morning Comet so you will have to get that strong cup of coffee when you come to see me. It will be worth it. The Moon is a slender crescent now and not too bright so it doesn’t interfere with seeing me. The Moon will be new December 2nd and move into the evening sky leaving me in a pristine, dark morning sky, the perfect time to check me out!

So, do we have a date? I would love to meet you all before I leave. I mean “Love” is right there in my name! I won’t be back for about 8,000 years or so and it would break my heart not to meet you.

Sincerely,

Comet Lovejoy

November 29, 2013 - Posted by | Astrophotography, Comet Lovejoy, Observing

3 Comments »

  1. Nice one, Rob. Sometimes, consistency wins the race over flashy and glitzy…

    Comment by Daryl Taylor | November 29, 2013 | Reply

  2. I’ve been trying to see this thing for weeks now. Bad weather and light pollution have really been killing me though. With an impending snowstorm, it doesn’t look like the next few days will be any better either . . .

    Give me another chance, Lovejoy. I’ll do my best to see you off before your 8000 year journey.

    Comment by NVChad2 | December 8, 2013 | Reply

  3. We were seeing a bright comet with the naked eye in the western sky from Northern Arizona on Wednesday evening, Dec. 11, just after sunset. The news doesn’t report such a comet, but it was something to see

    Comment by Eric Kramer | December 12, 2013 | Reply


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