Monday, January 12, 2015
A Night of Comet Goodness! (11 January 2015)
An epic night of comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy observation has come to a close. After days of pouring rain and cloud, it all suddenly cleared this afternoon and I finally got to see the comet with my unaided eye. It was tricky at first and I needed, but once I had become familiar with the area it was pretty easy to see. Distinguishing it from 31 Tau was tricky, but Fuzziness was the key.
This heralded a frenzy of binocular sketching, telescope sketching, and photography. I was pleased with my sketches, my sketched star positions agree pretty well with the charts when I checked them later.
Tonight's sketches, click to embiggen.
In binoculars the comet was round and fuzzy, no hint of tail structure. In the thelescope (114mm Netwonian with 25mm Plossl eyepiece) the coma was clearly asymmetrical, but no clear tail. There was a well defined central condensation.
With the binoculars I tried to estimate the magnitude of the comet using the defocusing method, but with poor comparison stars the best estimate I have is 4.3-5.0
Finally I managed to image the comet through my telescope (the small Newtonian without time drive). It is a pretty ordinary image, but I am chuuffed that I achieved it (only because it was close to a bright guide star).
So all in all an epic night. I doubt the weather will hold out, but if I can do more of these observations I will.