Thursday, December 12, 2013
C/2013 R1: Astronomers Zoom in on Tail of Comet Lovejoy
C/2013 R1 Lovejoy (R1 Lovejoy for short) is a long-period comet discovered by the Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy on September 7, 2013.
The comet became visible to the naked eye in November 2013 near the Beehive Cluster (M44), about halfway between Jupiter and Regulus.
On November 19, 2013, R1 Lovejoy made its closest approach to our planet at a distance of about 60 million km.
On December 2, 2013, Prof Jin Koda of Stony Brook University in New York with Japanese colleagues used Suprime-Cam aboard Subaru Telescope to observe R1 Lovejoy’s impressive tail.
“Subaru Telescope offers a rare combination of large telescope aperture and a wide-field camera. This enabled us to capture a detailed look at the nucleus while also photogenically framing inner portions of R1 Lovejoy’s impressive ion tail,” said Prof Koda with colleagues.
At the time of this observation, R1 Lovejoy was 80 million km distant from Earth and 130 million km away from the Sun.
Although the famous comet ISON was disintegrated by the Sun at the end of November 2013, R1 Lovejoy’s visibility has been increasing in the eastern sky. The new observation adds more data about this beautiful comet.