Headlines > News > New Green Comet Set For April

New Green Comet Set For April

Published by Rob on Fri Mar 30, 2007 12:47 pm
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A new comet has recently been discovered, and like the brilliant Comet McNaught from earlier this year, this latest discovery belongs to an Australian:[b] Comet Lovejoy (C/2007 E2). [/b]

On March 15th, Terry Lovejoy of Thornlands, Queensland, Australia, discovered a 9th-magnitude comet in the southern constellation Indus the Indian. In reporting the find to the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT), in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Lovejoy described the comet as having a coma that appeared distinctly green in color, with a slight extension to the southwest.

Remarkably, Lovejoy made the discovery not with a telescope but using an off-the-shelf digital camera! In fact, it appears to be the very first case of the discovery of a comet discovered in this manner.

Lovejoy was using a Canon 350D with a zoom lens set to 200-mm focal length at f/2.8. Lovejoy spotted the object near the frame edge in 16 exposures of 90 seconds each. The images were obtained during a comet-hunting survey that Lovejoy has been conducting for more than two years.

The Comet is too dim to see with the naked eye like Mcnaught earlier this year. Observers with a small telescope should be able to see the comet and perhaps see some of the colour. The estimated mag is +7.5

Observers in the north should see the comet from the second week in April and will be nicely positioned in the South East.

After five days of tracking, Comet Lovejoy’s trajectory is known. The orbit is cockeyed, almost perpendicular to the rest of the solar system. At the moment the comet is swooping up from below, moving from southern to northern skies. At closest approach to Earth (0.44 AU).

Please feel free to discuss this further and post any pictures in the forum…

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