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Sunday, March 16, 2014


New Comet C/2014 E2

Location of the new comet, C/2014 E2, as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACDST on 15 March (click to embigen). My image of the C/2014 E2 taken with iTelescope T12. The image is the SUM of two 120 second images. SUMMing and some light brightness /contrast adjusting done in ImageJ, the bright streak is a satellite. (click to embiggen)

A new, potentially bright comet has been discovered by a team in Brazil.Currently only visible from the Southern Hemisphere. C/2014 E2 (Jacques) is currently somewhere between magnitude 11.5 and 13 (the predicted ephemeris values are around 14.5, but this is incorrect). It may get to be as bright as magnitude 8, or even a bit more. At the very least it will be an easy object in small telescopes, if not binoculars.

It is just outside the orbit of Mars at the moment, and is already showing a nice little tail and a decent coma, despite substantial interference from Moonlight. For the next few nights viewing will be difficult with the nearly full Moon close to the comet, but after Tuesday the comet rises before the Moon and will be better to see.

C/2014 E2 is moving rapidly, it is currently skimming between Hydra and the Milky way, and there should be some nice imaging opportunities. From now to approximately 25 May the comet will be well placed for imaging. After this it is too low in the evening twilight.You can get an ephemeris from the minor planet ephemeris service.

The comet is at Perihelion on 3 July, but will be too close to the Sun to see. After perihelion it will be a northern hemisphere object only, but still reasonably bright. It is closest to Earth on August 30th, when it is 0.57 AU away, and will probably be around magnitude 8 or 9 at this time.

Chart of C/2014 E2 as seen from the Southern Hemisphere, suitable for printing. (click to embiggen).Chart of Comet C/2014 E2 as seen from the Southern Hemisphere. The circle is the approximate field of view of 10x50 binoculars.(click to embiggen).

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HI Ian

C/2014 E2 has brightened to 10.6 on March 21.40 UT. Matt Mattiazzo made it 10.7 on March 19.34 UT. In my 26cm f4.90 Newtonian with a 9mm GSO Plossly, I could see a 3.6 arcmin Coma down to ~ Mv 14 at 142x and 22.0 arcmin FOV.

Graham W. Wolf
Barber Grove Observatory (BGO)
Lower Hutt, New Zealand
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