The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

Lovejoy Rising

I have posted lots of pics of Comet Lovejoy and managed to get up early enough this morning and brave the chilly Tucson (below freezing…don’t judge northerners!) temps to take some shots.

Saguaro National Park east is about a 10 minute drive from where I live. I wanted some pics with some nice foreground objects so I hiked into the park a little bit to get to the first batch of big saguaros. I got several wide shots with a 35mm lens. I used a feature on my Skytracker that will track at only half the rate the stars move across the sky. I did this to split the difference between the land and sky, keeping both of them reasonably in focus with minimal blurring during the 20-30 second exposures I was using.

IMG_2753 IMG_2748 IMG_2747

Of course I felt the need to put on the longer (250mm) zoom lens and try a two minute shot of the comet. The tail is developing nicely and covers several degrees of the sky.


Comet Lovejoy was visible to the naked eye and it is definitely brighter than M13, probably a little brighter than 5th magnitude. Easy and nice binocular target, naked eye under dark skies. For finder chart, Heavens Above is a good place. Just set it to the time you want to observe.

I should note that Lovejoy is moving farther into the northern sky. For much of the continental U.S., it can be seen after sunset and before sunrise, although it is much higher in the sky and easier to see before sunrise. The farther north you are, the easier it is to see after sunset (although Mike Weasner got it after sunset from Oracle, just north of Tucson a few nights ago so anything Tucson or north is fair game for sure!)

I am enjoying this comet, but could the next one please be a good evening object?


December 7, 2013 - Posted by | Astrophotography, Comet Lovejoy, Comets |


  1. Very nice images. I particularly like the 3rd shot.

    Comment by NVChad2 | December 8, 2013 | Reply

  2. Nice photography, Robert! The last naked-eye comet I saw was Comet West.

    Comment by Thom Gandet | December 9, 2013 | Reply

  3. I was wondering if by any chance you could contact me regarding this post please. many thanks


    Comment by Amateur Astro-Photography | December 9, 2013 | Reply

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