Comet C2014 Q2 Lovejoy Update

Comet Q2 is shaping up to be a nice little gem in the night sky. Unfortunately, my local skies have been cloudy and rainy since my initial post so I have not been able to snap a few local images. However, I managed to get another with the BRT on January 2nd which turned out quite nice. I've included it with this update below. While it's not very clear without over exposure, there is a thin tail coming off the comet that, in this image, protrudes toward the upper right corner of the frame.


For general viewing tips, please see my other article here: Holiday Comet 2014

Below you'll find a sky chart for where you can find the comet over the next several days. Be sure to check it out if you can!


Site Update

Well, it was that time again. Updates. As you can see, one of the updates was a change in the sites theme. This change is something I've been meaning to take care of for a long time but hadn't found a theme that would function the way that I wanted in order to keep the articles easily accessible and displaying in a manner that wouldn't break things.

The catalyst for this was the simple fact that an update recently took the site offline for a few days over the holidays because I didn't have time to correct it. Now that I've corrected it, it was time to update the theme and start moving forward with the site again.

Hope everyone has been having a great holiday season and checking out all the heavenly happenings as of late, comets, meteor showers and the like!

Comet ISON Disintegrates

We held out hope that Comet ISON not only made it around the Sun intact but that it would offer a spectacular December view.  Much to everyone's dismay it now appears that Comet ISON has finally met the end.

The Comet was once thought to be lost on Thanksgiving Day as it passed very close to the Sun only to come into view gain and brighten as it went.  This left hope that the comet might be able to make a showing for eager observers throughout the world.  As of this morning, it now looks like the comet has gone complete dim and may have completely disintegrated.

My attempt at observing the comet early the morning of November 30th and December 1st were both uneventful and given that reports currently put the comet beyond naked-eye magnitude (6.5+) it is unlikely that much of this comet remains.

The view from the SOHO satellite shows it passing through a jet of material ejected from the Sun and beginning to fade substantially after that.  The image below is courtesy of NASA/ESA/SOHO.  As you can see in the upper right corner of the picture, the fuzzy smudge is what remains of Comet ISON.


In the event that something changes, I'll be sure to send out another update with that new information.  Beyond that, this will be the final update on Comet ISON.

It should be noted that if you have a set of binoculars or telescope there are still a few comets strolling through that are still visible.  The main one being Comet Lovejoy which is still visible with  off the handle of The Big Dipper (Ursa Major) near the top of the constellation Bootes starting at around 3:00 AM.  Comet Lovejoy should be visible approximately 1 degree lower in the sky than the star Nekkar which is the top star in Bootes.

Below is a sky chart which may provide helpful information on locating Comet Lovejoy the morning of December 2nd at the time it rises.


Comet ISON Morning Observing and Lovejoy Update

See below for November 30th observing information:

Comet ISON has made it around the Sun at least partially intact!  This is great news for those who are looking for an opportunity to see this comet.  The current magnitude is almost -1 which means it should be easily visible to the naked eye as it comes back around the Sun to be visible once again in the morning skies.

On November 30th, you may be able to see the comet if you're up early enough.  The comet is set to rise starting at 6:55 AM CST in the Northeast sky (see graphic for coordinate information) and may be visible up to just before the Sun rises at 7:26 AM CST.


It is not yet known how long the comet will remain viable.  There were some concerns that it might not even make it through the approach.  Especially (as can be seen in my previous post of SOHO images) since the comet showed some active disintegration and disappeared for a bit on it's way around the Sun.  There is an expectation that better information about the comet, and how stable it really is, will be coming out over the next few days as more observations are able to take place.

In the mean time, I took the liberty of doing a little bit of astrophotography this evening with my Nikon D80, 70-300mm telephoto lens and a tripod.  While this is certainly not an ideal setup, it still manages to capture a few shorter exposure shots well enough.  I had two goals with this outing, the first was to see if there was any way to snag comet ISON this evening after sunset since the Sun set prior to the comet.  Alas, this was a bunk effort not only due to the bright sunset but because of low clouds in the Western sky.  Even so, those clouds made for some very nice sunset photos (see gallery).

The second goal was to see if I could capture Comet Lovejoy.  This comet has gone from naked eye visibility in mid-November to binocular, telescope and photo visibility at this point running around the 7-8th magnitude for right now (it's only going to get dimmer from here).  I pointed my camera at roughly the spot where I expected it should be and started snapping a couple pictures.  Unfortunately, my electronics weren't working well tonight and I wasn't able to look up the exact position of the comet and get better pictures while zoomed in.  But, to my surprise, I DID snag some faint shots of it without any zoom.  While these shots are very clearly not very good, the accomplishment is that something was obtained.  One other thing to note is that aircraft were everywhere tonight and interfered with several of the shots that I kept.

You can view the fruits of labor here:

Happy comet viewing everyone!  Keep checking in for updates, I will post more as I have them.

Comet ISON C/2012 S1 Thanksgiving Comet

See full article for images and after Thanksgiving sky location for Comet ISON.

Finally, the heavens clear and the Sun appears.  Too bad for me it's a day or two late to capture final pictures of Comet ISON before it passed out of visual range.  Right now the comet is on it's way around the Sun and is too close to be visible until after Thanksgiving.  Fortunately for you, I've found a few pictures of ISON to share which dwarf anything I'm currently capable of providing on my own.

Including current pictures of the comet's approach to the Sun via the SOHO satellite

Comet C/2012 S1 ISON – View from SOHO (

Animated View


Most Current Image


And the the most spectacular shot I've seen to date.  This has so much stunning detail it looks like a painting.  Taken by Damian Peach ( on November 15th 2013.  This picture was captured using the following settings and equipment: 0.11m F5.6 STL-11k camera. LRGB: L: 5x2mins. RGB: 1x2mins.


November 29th, 2013

Viewing the day after Thanksgiving will still be a formidable challenge because (assuming the comet survives the trip around the Sun) ISON will still be very close to the Sun angularly.  You'll want to look very close to the horizon where the Sun set after sunset about 4:45 PM to 5:00 PM local time.  At this time the Sun will only be a few degrees below the horizon and ISON will only be a few degrees above it.  This also means that you'll need an extremely good Western vantage point.

The picture below provides a rough idea of where the comet will be with respect to the Sun.  The blue line represents the horizon line.  Keep in mind this picture does not take into consideration horizon obstructions such as buildings and trees or any atmospheric problems such as the sky being too bright or overcast.


December 1st, 2013

By Sunday, the comet will be a little bit further away from the Sun and should provide an easier sight.  While the comet will continue to be an early evening object (which is great for anyone who's not a night owl) it should be a naked eye sight through the first several weeks in December, depending on brightness, maybe longer.  You will still find it best for observing the comet if you find a clear sight with a vantage point that gives you an unobstructed view of the Western horizon.  Continue to look for it in the very early evening sky right after sunset.

The picture below provides a rough idea of where the comet will be with respect to the Sun.  The blue line represents the horizon line.  Keep in mind this picture does not take into consideration horizon obstructions such as buildings and trees or any atmospheric problems such as the sky being too bright or overcast.


Happy Thanksgiving and happy viewing!  Keep an eye out for updates on this as the comet swings around the Sun.