Comet Lovejoy | Motion and Details

If you are hoping to see Comet Lovejoy, there is still time. Here is where and how. I posted my photo of Comet Lovejoy from Monday January 12 here. The next night of January 13, my brother-in-law Dave, about 200 miles east of me, posted his photo of Lovejoy on Facebook. What is interesting is how much the comet moved in 24 hours. I superimposed the two photos and aligned the stars visible in each. The actual distance across the sky is about the width of a full moon, or the width of your thumb seen with your arm extended. Lovejoy will not be staying in our neighborhood for long. And, it will be getting dimmer as it departs from the sun.


Dave and I used a single time exposure to obtain our images. Many amateur and professional astronomers have equipment and software that allows them to overlay multiple time exposures. This stacking process can bring out details and evidence of motion. You can see many excellent examples by viewing the daily gallery updates at Spaceweather. The animated gif below shows a sequence of 21 images, each 2 minutes in exposure time. More photographic details by clicking the linked image.

Philippe ROUCHEUX | January 12, 2015 | Joigny, Burgundy, France

Subtle and beautiful wispy details can be seen in many images. A good example is this one. Click on the linked image for photographic and equipment details and a much larger view. The large view shows the evidence for thirty 90 sec exposures used to make this composite.

Kasper Flückiger & Peter Kronenberg | January 12, 2015

Last evening, after Dave posted his picture, Melanie and I went out armed with our Astroscan telescope. It was 7˚F. We needed to be quick. Within 10 minutes, we viewed Lovejoy, the Orion Nebula, and Jupiter with the 4 Galilean moons all aligned closely on one side like this simulation from my free Stellarium desktop software. It was a fine night.



24 thoughts on “Comet Lovejoy | Motion and Details

    • I am thankful for the sites that allow us to view the fine work of others. Once in a while we get a break from the clouds. The timing of that break was good for us. Today, it is back to clouds. 😦


  1. Great pictures! June 23 is supposed to be another good night for viewing Jupiter when the shadows of Io, Europa and Callisto transit the planet.


  2. Stunning pictures of Lovejoy! Thank you for sharing both your pictures and those of others. The difference in Lovejoy’s position between your picture the 12th and Dave’s picture the 13th is amazing – just to think of the distance it is traveling in such a short period of time, wow! Still cloudy here in Texas 😦 but I think the light from the metroplex would be too great for me to overcome with no telescope. I’ll just have to enjoy it via your blog!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not too late. Sky glow from metro lights make it very hard to locate. Those with smart telescopes can key in coordinates and the scope will slew to the object. That makes finding quite easy.

      Good of you to try. Most people don’t get that far. 😦


  3. I love the Philippe ROUCHEUX | January 12, 2015 | Joigny, Burgundy, France, motion file; I still don’t know whether they made a GIF or a Movie file; it can’t be a bulb exposure though!


  4. At the site of the first linked picture I see that the photographer refers to “21 poses.” Posing strikes me as a volitional act, but I don’t think the comet had much say in the matter.


      • I was giving French a hard time based on how “21 poses” struck me in English. Pose in French can refer simply to the positioning of an object, no will required on the object’s part.

        You guys are hardier than I am to brave 7° nighttime temperatures. Brevity was definitely a virtue.


  5. Cool…got busy with work and I’m catching up with my blog reading. There is something wonderful about seeing the heavens up close…well, closer than normal!.

    Liked by 1 person

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