Friday, January 09, 2015
Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy's Dramatic Tail
Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy is really putting on a fantastic show at the moment for those of us with access to decent imaging telescopes. In particular, not only does its tail have lots of structure, but it is changing rapidly. The two pictures above (Images are 5x180 second luminance images Bin 2 taken with iTelescope T12. click to embiggen for taily goodness) show the comet on the 3rd and the 8th, 5 days apart. You can see a significant change in the structure of the tail (see also my previous triptych of tail images, showing interesting tail structure and this one on the tails evolution) .
But the tail is MUCH more dynamic than that, it can change on an hour to hour basis. The image I took on the 8th was actually in the middle of a tail disconnection event. You can see an image from Nick Howes of just as the disconnection event starts (at 11:13 UT before my image) and from Tony
UPDATE: Here is a 7 hour sequence Tony Angel did of the disconnection. Awesome!
And now, for your enjoyment, the video Nick Howes made of this event.
This is one amazing comet! I now rate it my finest telescopic comet (as opposed to C/2006 P1 McNaught which was my finest unaided eye comet, and C/2011 W3 Lovejoy which was my finest spacecraft comet) Thank you Terry Lovejoy for finding it for us.
If only the rain can cloud would go away now.