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Last night (16 April), 9 people attended the SCC Observatory to hunt comets. We got a good look at comets 41P/tuttle-Giacobinni-Kresak and C/2015 V2 Johnson, added objects to member’s Messier lists, and got a good look at Jupiter. Danny and Neil brought their own telescopes to join the sky survey.
I want to share some photos that members got of Comet Lovejoy.
Clear skies on the 7th of January gave our past president Mike Bradley his first opportunity to view comet Lovejoy, and it was pretty impressive. He could see it with binoculars without trouble but in his telescope its head made up a full half of his 26mm eyepiece. He took this photo with a DSLR camera, a simple stack of six 20-40 second images. There is even some evidence of a very faint tail in the photos that wasn’t visible in the scope only view. Mike tried using a UHC filter but it didn’t lead to any improvement. Mike did not have star tracking turned on. Fortunately the comet is moving relatively slowly so there wasn’t too much blurring.
On the fifteenth Mike tried again: Visibility wasn’t as good, but he got a sharper focus
On the 21st conditions in Roberts Creek were not so good but they improved a bit later. Mike shot a stack of 10 x 120 second images at 800 ISO. This time the tail is starting to show!
Comet 15P/Finlay is back and apparently it has reached a brightness level making it visible in binoculars this time. Currently it is visible in the western sky at the end of evening twilight.
Mike Bradley, Past President, Sunshine Coast Centre RASC
If you haven’t seen comet Lovejoy yet its putting on its best show now and during the upcoming moonless nights. Its up pretty early now and is now above Orion, not below.
I saw it last night through a foggy sky in my 70mm binos and it was very bright, large and diffuse. I would think it would be an easy naked eye object from the sunshine coast on a clear evening.
*** TIP If cloudy check outside every half an hour as this current weather pattern seems to offer short breaks of clear sky and then back to cloudy conditions…
Sunshine Coast Centre RASC
I have attached an updated finder chart for Comet Lovejoy. It is higher and brighter and should now be much easier to find. If you know Orion use some of its brighter stars to form an alignment with the Comet. The moon is a bit of an issue at the moment and I haven’t tried it for a couple of days but I will try tonight and pass along my results. I suspect it should be visible in binoculars in spite of the moon.
Sunshine Coast Centre RASC member
We had some clear nights over Christmas and I managed to get out in
my yard a couple of times for some telescope viewing….
Comet Lovejoy is now visible to us here in the northern hemisphere.
It was an easy target in my 40mm binoculars. See the finder chart for
its location. When I saw it on the morning (1230am put it on the
meridian) of the 25th it was only 10 degrees above the horizon but
its gaining in altitude every day and will be at about the same
altitude as the bright star Sirius by the end of the month. I didnt
see it in my telescope yet but if the weather permits soon we may get
a chance before the moon washes out the view.
I also viewed Jupiter the same night as the comet. Jupiter is in the
east and is well placed for viewing before midnight. The seeing was
good enough that night that I could get up to 340x magnification
through my C11 telescope using my Binocular viewers. I just got the
bino viewers recently and I have to tell you that it was like viewing
the Planet in 3D! Wow, what an improvement when you can use both eyes
at once. The downside of the bino viewers is that they may not reach
focus in a Newtonian and you have to buy 2 of each eyepiece…and
that can get expensive. If you have a refractor or a
Schmidt-Cassegrain then you shouldnt have any issue reaching focus.
Info on the comet is here
If you are not familiar with bino viewers you can find out more here
If you dont know what a C11 telescope is and would like to know then
For new gear, for to many reasons to get into right now, I like to go
Happy new year to all the club members
member – Sunshine Coast Centre RASC