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Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2

Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2

Monday January 19, 2015

Comet Lovejoy is in a wonderful part of the night sky for viewing and photographing right now. It is currently passing very close to the Pleiades (Seven Sisters) which is the famous star cluster near Taurus and Orion and quite easy to spot on a dark night.

Comet Lovejoy Tasmania Jan 16 2015

Comet Lovejoy Tasmania Jan 16 2015. Exposure information: ISO6400, f4, 20 seconds. 108mm focal length. Using Astro Tracer.

The comet itself is visible as a diffuse glow, and best viewed with an “averted vision” technique – ie looking not exactly at the position of the comet but just a little off to the side, and the comet will be a little clearer in your peripheral (averted) vision. I was using this technique to frame the comet in my viewfinder!

Comet Lovejoy Tasmania Jan 16 2015

Comet Lovejoy Tasmania Jan 16 2015. Exposure information: ISO1250, f4, 120 seconds. 70mm focal length. Astro Tracer on, but didn’t work perfectly at 120 seconds. Interested to see how much tail I could capture, shame the trailing wasn’t completely cancelled out though.

These photos were taken using my 70-200mm f2.8 at a range of focal lengths and ISO settings. All of them were taken with the Pentax K3 using it’s unique astro tracer function.

Comet Lovejoy Tasmania Jan 16 2015

Comet Lovejoy Tasmania Jan 16 2015. Exposure information: ISO4000, f4, 30 seconds. 83mm focal length. Using Astro Tracer.

How to Spot Comet Lovejoy

The next week or so will be the best time to view the Comet as there is no moon in the night sky. Just find yourself a dark spot away from city lights, look for Orion, the “V” shaped stars of Taurus, and the Pleiades – see my “mud map” below :)

Comet Lovejoy Location Map

Comet Lovejoy Location Map – the comet is moving towards the bottom left as the days go by, but will still be in the vicinity of the Pleiades for a little while.

Click through for some amazing telescopic photos of Comet Lovejoy, and to view and print out the star map on “Sky & Telescope“.  Happy shooting!

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