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Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy is the surprise comet of the autumn. Now at magnitude +5.2 (as of 24 November) it is an easy catch in binoculars and telescopes in the eastern sky after midnight during November 2013. On November 9th I tracked it down with 16×50 binoculars as a faint elongated patch of light between the Beehive Cluster and the Sickle of Leo.In a 200mm dobsonian Comet Lovejoy is bright and obvious, showing a large gradated coma, and a distinct bright nucleus. A short faint tail was also seen. From a dark sky location Comet Lovejoy shows more of a tail, and is now even visible to the naked eye.
Tracking Comet Lovejoy through November 2013
Comet Lovejoy remains bright and well-placed to view in binoculars and telescopes throughout November 2013. Early month it could be found in the constellation of Cancer, just to the left of the Beehive Cluster, Lovejoy has since headed through the constellations of Leo, Leo Minor and is now in Canes Venatici on a trajectory that takes it on northwards along the northern horizon and into the evening sky. Look for it after midnight when it is high enough up off the horizon to make for a decent view in a telescope.
The comet is moving pretty quickly. Just 30 minutes viewing in a telescope at low magnification will show its movement against the background stars. In December Lovejoy arcs down between Hercules and Bootes, and into Corona Borealis, becoming a nicely placed object in the western evening sky from the UK, but also remaining visible in the northeastern morning sky for up to 4 hours ahead of sunrise.
Take a look at the Comet Lovejoy Finder Chart below to work out the best dates and times to see Comet Lovejoy from the UK in November 2013.
Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy Finder Chart
Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy Sketch
Want to know what to expect of Comet Lovejoy when you see it through a telescope? Here is a quick sketch made of the comet between 1:15 – 1:45am on 9th November using a low magnification on a 200mm dobsonian telescope.
Comet Lovejoy Latest
At around 1am on November 20th I tracked down Comet Lovejoy in a 200mm 8-inch dobsonian. Despite strong moonlight from an almost full moon, Comet Lovejoy was easy to see in a low power eyepiece. It is big and bright, and is sure moving fast for a comet. I tracked the comet for half an hour, in which time it had moved appreciably against the fainter background stars. Even in full moonlight an elongated coma was obvious. Averted vision showed a faint tail stretching to the lower left of my field of view.
Comet Lovejoy is turning out to be the comet of the autumn. Once the moon wanes a bit it’ll look pretty awesome in Ursa Major towards the back end of November.
Comet Lovejoy Sketch – 20 November 2013
2 >> Select a telescope and check the availability indicator on the telescope information screen
3 >> Hire period is 7 or 14 nights, starting and ending Fridays. Nightly telescope hire is also available from our Southwest England hire bases
4 >> Make your booking request here, or phone Seb on 07884 001815
5 >> We will send you a booking confirmation. A delivery / pick up time is arranged for the start of the hire period, and a collection / drop-off time is fixed for the end of the hire period. These times are flexible.
6 >> You can pay for your telescope hire by cash on the day of collection or delivery. We also accept advance bank payments and paypal payments.
7 >> Everything you need to use the telescope is included. Our stargazing guides provide detailed information to help you navigate your way around the night sky.
8 >> Hope for clear skies!
We are located on the High Street (A5120) in Toddington close to Jct 12 of the M1. From the motorway head up the hill into Toddington. The road bears left at the Church. Continue along the road past the shops on your right. We are 100 yards or so up on the left.
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Dark Sky Telescope Hire
41 High Street
Tel. 07884 001815
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