10.1'' reflector 36 x
January 14, 2015 00:45 UT
At the time of this sketch, Comet Lovejoy was approximately 75 million kilometers from Earth, 196 million kilometers from the Sun. The comet passed closest approach to the Earth on Januray 7th, at 70 million kilometers. Visual magnitude estimates varied between 3.5 to 4.4. Barely able to spot it with naked eye from my backyard (Bortle 7 suburban Ottawa skies) in eastern Taurus. Through the telescope, Lovejoy appears to have a very circular coma, gradually brightening towards the center; the center is not star-like but it is very concentrated. It almost looks like a globular cluster containing stars that are about to resolve but never do. Coma core appears to be approximately 4' across, with the outer edges of the comet extending to 10' across. No sign of the thin tail that appears in long exposure photographs.