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#Science

Still hunting for comet Lovejoy? Well this is what you need to look for

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For those who missed out on viewing comet Lovejoy when it was at its peak of visibility may still have a fair chance of catching its glimpse with a pair of binoculars or a telescope.

Catalogued as C/2014 Q2 and discovered by Australian Terry Lovejoy, the green comet is currently high up in the south direction and can be seen to the right of the twinkling little group of stars Pleiades [check out the path of the comet below].

If you are not able to find The Pleiades, your best bet is to locate Taurus and then look to its right to locate the Pleiades.

Tomorrow i.e. January 21 the comet will rise a little higher up in the sky and you will be able to find it to the bottom left of Aries. By January 28 you will be able to find it on the left of Triangulum and on January 30 it will be at the closest point to Sun (the perihelion) before heading out into space again. This will be the closest it gets to the Sun in 8,000 years and after that it will grow dimmer and dimmer.

Comet Lovejoy path

According to Geoff Wyatt, an astronomer at the Sydney Observatory, those wanting to spot Lovejoy will have to fight the urge of smoking a cigarette in chilly nights as smoking is known to affect night vision.

As for the question of how to spot Lovejoy, following are the recommendations:

  • Make sure you don’t chose a night where there is a lot of mist or clouds;
  • Try to head to an area where there is minimal light pollution;
  • Use a telescope to increase your chances of viewing comet Lovejoy. If you haven’t got one a pair of binoculars should do just fine, but you might have to look a little harder;
  • As of January 20, the comet is at the right of  cluster of stars Pleiades – you can use this as a reference;
  • Above everything, from now till end of  January are the last few days to catch a glimpse of the comet as towards the end of January it will start fading.