Comet Lovejoy and the Hercules Cluster
I got behind posting here, but last Sunday morning I went out to get Comet Lovejoy as it was passing a little over 5 degrees from the Hercules Globular cluster, also known as M13. It would have been better Saturday morning, but I got back from a trip late Friday night and getting up early Saturday just didn’t happen.
The problem Sunday morning was the Moon. The Moon was approaching full and lit up the sky when I got to Saguaro National Park east. I couldn’t see Lovejoy with the naked eye, but found it with binoculars. I took a few pics while waiting for the Moon to set. Once the Moon set, there was a very brief window before morning twilight started brightening the sky. Fortunately, I was ready to make the most of the 20 minutes or so I had.
Here is Comet Lovejoy in the lower right of the image and the fuzzy blob of M13 in the upper left.
Next I zoomed in for a closer view of Lovejoy.
Lovejoy still has a very nice tail. I could see the comet as a fuzzy blob naked eye once the Moon set, but it is not quite as bright as it was a couple of weeks ago. Finally, as the sky began to gradually brighten, I found a nice saguaro and did a much wider shot with the comet.
The Moon is entering the morning sky and will make Comet Lovejoy much less impressive, but it should still be in reach of binoculars. The comet if forecast to slowly fade to a magnitude of about 6.0 by the end of the month when the Moon will finally get out of the way. You would need really dark skies to catch it with the naked eye although it should still be all right in binoculars. Due to the Moon, I probably won’t try for it again for a couple of weeks. However, I hope to use some of the slower time around the holidays next week to try some photography in the evening!
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