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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

 

Comet C/2013 V5 Oukaimeden in September 2014

Morning sky facing east showing the path of comet C/2013 V5 (and C/2012 K1) as seen from Adelaide at astronomical twilight from 10-20 September. Printable B & W map. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in the southern hemisphere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen and print.GIF animation showing the path of comet C/2013 V5as seen from Adelaide at astronomical twilight in the morning from 10-20 September. Simulated in Stellarium. Click to embiggen
Evening sky facing west showing the path of comet C/2013 V5 (and C/2013 A1and Mars) as seen from Adelaide at astronomical twilight from 18-30 September. Printable B & W map. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in the southern hemisphere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen and print.GIF animation showing the path of comet C/2013 V5as seen from Adelaide at astronomical twilight in the evening from 19-30 September. Simulated in Stellarium. Click to embiggen

Comet C/2013 V5 has been unassumingly growing brighter low in the eastern morning sky. It is starting to look quite spectacular in telescopes, and should be visible in binoculars as a fuzzy dot.

Should be is the issue, at the moment the comet is rather diffuse and competing with the bright Moonlight, in the next couple of weeks the light from the waning Moon fades, but the comet approaches the horizon rapidly, coming deeper into the murk near the horizon and harder to see.

By the 20th, it is lost to the morning skies, but may reappear in the evening skies (there is a chance it will break up when it is closest to the Sun). It will rapidly rise in the evening skies (if it has survived) it might be bright enough to (just) see with the unaided eye. Again, in binoculars it will look like a fuzzy dot, possibly with a short tail. it will then rapidly fade. With the waxing Moon brightening the sky will be brightening as the comet fades, making it harder to follow by the end of the month.

Binocular map of C/2013 V5 in the morning. The circle is the field of view of 10x50 binoculars. Click to embiggen and print.Binocular map of C/2013 V5 in the evening. The circle is the field of view of 10x50 binoculars. Click to embiggen and print.

There are few obvious signpost to locate the comet in the morning sky, initially scanning east of Procyon with binoculars should be helpful, but care attention to the maps (using a red light torch to not destroy your night vision) will probably be needed to find this comet in binoculars. Decent sized telescope will have no problem until the comet gets too closer to the horizon.

Morning sky on Saturday September 13 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 am ACST.  Jupiter is above the horizon and comet C/2013 V5 is east of  Procyon. (click to embiggen).

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