Last chance for 8000 years to see comet Lovejoy

January 13, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
 
 
Have you seen comet Lovejoy yet?
ラヴジョイ彗星は見つかりましたか?英語ですが、見つけ方をアップします。

The weather here in Chiba has been perfect for comet viewing this past week, and Lovejoy has lived up to its expectations glowing brightly in the evening sky from 70 million km away. On the weekend I was able to see it with the naked eye, despite living only 50km from Tokyo.
This is what it looked like on Saturday night. (the green glow bottom right)
 
Lovejoy Jan 10thLovejoy Jan 10th
Canon 6D, 300mm f/5.6 4s ISO 12800 
 
 
It's quite easy to find.
I put together some photos as a quick guide for seeing it here in Japan this week.
 
Wait till its dark, at least an hour after sunset, then go outside, face South and look up. The Southern night sky should look like this:
 
Lovejoy and Orion 10thJanLovejoy and Orion 10thJan
Orion is the big constellation on the left (called "The pot" where I come from!) .
Hyades is to the right of that, and Pleiades is the dense cluster up high in the sky (straight up above the road). Pleiades is called Subaru in Japan, and is what the car maker was named after of course.



The comet is moving slowly across the sky below those three well known star clusters in a straight line.
Last week it was below Orion. Tonight it is below Hyades, and at the end of the week it will be passing under Pleiades.
I have outlined the Orion constellation. The circle shows Lovejoy's position last Saturday night, and the arrows show its trajectory.
 
Lovejoy ChartLovejoy Chart
 
Use the chart to find the rough position in the sky, then slowly scan around until you find it.
It will appear as a faint green glow, about the size of a big star but dimmer. Binoculars are the best way to see it. Here is another photo from Saturday night, with Orion, Hyades and Pleiades enlarged.
Compare it with the above chart and see if you can find the comet before you venture outside. 
Lovejoy and Orion WIDE 10thJanLovejoy and Orion WIDE 10thJan
Did you find it?
Here is the same photo, with everything marked.
 
Lovejoy and Orion WIDE ChartLovejoy and Orion WIDE Chart
 
Well, good luck!
And remember, the longer you stay outside looking for it, the more your eyes will adjust and the easier it will become. So wrap up warm, and have fun.
Oh and if you're Down Under, then stand on your head, because these photos will all be upside down!!
 
 
 
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