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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

[BAA-ebulletin 00829] A Christmas Comet

BAA electronic bulletin

A comet discovered from Australia by Terry Lovejoy on August 16 has
brightened quite rapidly. 2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is currently too far
south to be seen from the UK, although it is being imaged with remote
telescopes. See for example the image by Damian Peach at with
other images in the Section archive at The comet is
heading northwards and might be seen from the UK in about a week's
time, but it will be very low down in the south so you will need an
unobstructed horizon. By Christmas it will be easier to see, but
still low down and highest around midnight. The comet should be at
its brightest at around 4th to 5th magnitude in the first half of
January when it will be conveniently visible in the evening sky.
There are finder charts on the Computing Section web page at

The comet is unlikely to show much of a tail, but one of a degree or
so in length might be seen with binoculars. It will probably show
quite a large diffuse coma, with a stronger central condensation. You
will need dark skies to see it to best effect, but it will be
sufficiently bright that even city dwellers should be able to find it
in binoculars when it is higher in the sky in January. Interesting
imaging opportunities include the early hours of December 29 when the
comet is very close to M79, mid January when it is relatively close to
the Pleiades and February 2 when it transects the line between M34 and
NGC752. Please send any images to Denis Buczynski at

Simple instructions on comet observation are in the BAA Observing
Guide - see Please send visual
observations to me, if possible in standard ICQ format. The more
comprehensive Section Observing Guide to Comets is currently out of
print, however a pdf version of the draft new edition will be
available in the Members area of the BAA web site in the near future.
The Section web page at is regularly
updated and will have all the latest information on the comet.

Clear skies and a happy Christmas observing the comet!

Jonathan Shanklin

BAA-ebulletin mailing list visit:
(c) 2014 British Astronomical Association

Good Clear Skies
Colin James Watling
Various Voluntary work-Litter Picking for Parish Council (Daytime) and
also a friend of Kessingland Beach (Watchman)
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and
Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland
Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
Lyra Main Website:

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