Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy

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rwilkinson
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Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy

#1 Post by rwilkinson » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:25 pm

This is the one which I mentioned in my talk: discovered in September by an Aussie amateur with his own bespoke comet-spotting software:
http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~jds/2013r1.pdf
It's a faint 10th magnitude object at the moment, but I did manage to catch it yesterday in a BRT ClusterCam image:
lovejoy_10oct.jpg
Single 30-sec image with BRT ClusterCam on 10-Oct
lovejoy_10oct.jpg (306.66 KiB) Viewed 7539 times
But it is predicted to brighten up to 6th mangitude in mid-November, so I hope to be able to image it from Bolton by then.

bholmes

Re: Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy

#2 Post by bholmes » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:11 am

This Image, taken by Damien Peach is on the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) website this morning. It shows Comet Lovejoy passing M44 "The Beehive Cluster" in Cancer. The link to the website is http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
c2013_r1_2013-lovejoy2.jpg
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Re: Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy

#3 Post by DRatledge » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:57 am

Bernie,
Stunning and very Interesting image -shame there is no information but it looks to have been taken with about a 300mm focal length? The time quoted on the image clearly indicates it wasn't taken from the UK but further west - USA (rent-a-scope?). The stars are all trailed north south but the (very prominent) star spikes are not! I would never suggest they had been painted on!

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Re: Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy

#4 Post by rwilkinson » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:55 am

Initially there was a bug in the BRT's new comet-tracking algorithm (it worked fine for ISON, but missed Lovejoy by 26 degrees in declination!). It took another image of the wrong patch of sky overnight , but when I checked again after breakfast, it had managed to target C/2013 R1 for the first time:
Lovejoy_11nov.jpg
Single 60-sec image from BRT "Cluster Camera" (actually a 180mm telephoto lens)
Lovejoy_11nov.jpg (203.45 KiB) Viewed 7476 times
And my job request may have set a new record for response-time?
rapid response.gif
A new record for "rapid response" from the BRT?
rapid response.gif (4.56 KiB) Viewed 7476 times

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Re: Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy

#5 Post by rwilkinson » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:01 am

I've had another idea for stacking multiple images of a comet.
A simple addition of the aligned frames improves the image of the comet but duplicates all the stars, producing a distracting background:
http://www.boltonastro.co.uk/gallery/di ... p?pid=1336
But if we use the "Sigma Clipping" addition function in IRIS, the background stars are largely suppressed, leaving a much clearer view of the fainter parts of the comet and its tail:
lj_sigmaclip.jpg
The same four images of Comet Lovejoy from 11-Nov, but stacked using Sigma Clipping (coefficient 1.0, 3 iterations)
lj_sigmaclip.jpg (259.17 KiB) Viewed 7463 times

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Re: Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy

#6 Post by rwilkinson » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:01 pm

Although ISON may have been evaporated into oblivion, Comet Lovejoy is still very much in evidence:
lovejoy_8dec.jpg
Comet Lovejoy on 8-Dec, taken from MO telescope "Donald" in Arizona.
2x 60-sec (taken almost an hour apart)
lovejoy_8dec.jpg (57.75 KiB) Viewed 7388 times
It's currently tracking between Bootes and Hercules, and so should be visible low in the NW for a couple of hours after sunset, and then rising again in the NE after midnight.

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Re: Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy

#7 Post by rwilkinson » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:52 am

Waking up around 6am, I looked out of the window and could see Vega (through the trees) low down in the NE. So I got out my 15x70 binoculars and pointed them higher and further East at Zeta Hercules, whereupon Lovejoy was immediately obvious in the same field of view. And although the sky was a little hazy and I was looking through a double-glazed window, I could even make out some of the tail too. Definitely worth getting out of bed for. 8-)
It was still visible even by 6:45, as the sky started to brighten.

Or if you prefer evening observing, have a look for Hercules low down in the NW after sunset - there should be an opportunity to spot the comet then, before it gets too low in the sky.

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Re: Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy

#8 Post by rwilkinson » Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:46 pm

I've managed to glimpse the comet in the early hours a couple more times this week (using 15x70 binoculars through an upstairs window), but the bright moonlight has made it look quite faint.
However it should now be visible for a little while in the early evenings, in Hercules, low down in the WNW.
Here's a finder chart for 6pm, with the comet's position marked every 2 days up to the end of the month:
lovejoy_dec.png
Finder chart for Comet Lovejoy in early evenings in late December
lovejoy_dec.png (29.49 KiB) Viewed 7295 times

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Re: Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy

#9 Post by rwilkinson » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:40 pm

I just managed to glimpse it again at 6am on Sunday morning, low in the South-East (in Ophiuchus). It was very faint in 10x50 binoculars, even though I was at a dark site in the Wye Valley (although the moonlight was quite bright).

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Re: Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy

#10 Post by rwilkinson » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:01 pm

I managed to get this image from the BRT Galaxy Camera this morning:
C2013R1_12Feb.jpg
Comet Lovejoy on 12-Feb-2014. 120sec at f/5.3 (with C14 telescope)
C2013R1_12Feb.jpg (284.38 KiB) Viewed 7044 times

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