Monday, December 15, 2014
Images of Comet Lovejoy, 2014's Christmas Comet
|Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy taken on 29 November 2014. iTelescope T12, 5x3minute exposures Bin 2, stacked in ImageJ and Median image extracted. Click to embiggen to see the faint tail.||Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy taken on 14 December 2014. iTelescope T12, 5x3minute exposures Bin 2, stacked in ImageJ and Median image extracted. Click to embiggen to see the tail and the galaxy.|
I think the two images above give a good idea of how rapidly comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy has brightened. Taken just two weeks apart (okay 15 days) under the same exposure conditions the comet and its tail has brightened dramatically (and I have had to use less drastic measures to brighten the comet to show its tail).
AS I said before, there are now several reliable reports of the comet being seen with the unaided eye at dark sky sites. This might be an outburst and the comet will fade again. Or it might be ongoing as suggested by the consistency of recent observations, and we might get a peak around magnitude 4.
Anyway, this will be a nice comet to follow regardless. See my guide to C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy for hints on how to find an see the comet.