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Thursday, December 15, 2011

 

Comet C/2011 W3 Lovejoy Brightens!


Left Image: C/2011 W3 Lovejoy in STEREO H1A (12-13 December) in false colour, showing the tail being twisted by the solar wind (better seen in the animation below). Right Image: C/2011 W3 Lovejoy in STEREO H1B (13 December) showing partial tail disconect (again, better seen in the animation below). The bright vertical line line is an imaging artefact. STEREO raw data courtesy of Karl Battams.

Karl has more information and animations (including the son of lovejoy), here. For previous images, animations and orbit descriptions see this post. Rob McNaught suspects it may not get above magnitude -6 (brighter than Venus but hard to see in daylight). It looks like it may survive to at least perihelion (but then, it will probably spectacularly disintegrate now).



Left Image: C/2011 W3 Lovejoy in SOHO C3 (14-15 December) (better seen in the animation below). Right Image: C/2011 W3 Lovejoy in STEREO H1B beacon images (14-15 December). The bright vertical line line is an imaging artefact. Image credits NASA/SOHO and SECCHI STEREO.



Comet C/2011 W3 Lovejoy as seen in STEREO H1 Behind 13 December 2011, tail disconnection seen . Raw data courtesy Karl Battams



Comet C/2011 W3 Lovejoy as seen in STEREO H1 Ahead spacecraft 12-13 December 2011, tail movement in solar wind seen. False colour image. Raw data courtesy Karl Battams



Comet C/2011 W3 Lovejoy as seen in SOHO spacecraft C3 imager 14-15 December 2011. Raw data courtesy NASA/SOHO

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