The Astronomical Society of the Toms River Area

Lovely comet coming in December
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Author:  sparklingstar930 [ Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Lovely comet coming in December ... 3783315006

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lovely comet coming in December

Bumping this with information regarding Comet Lovejoy C/2017 E4

Live and up-to-date detailso n Comet Lovejoy

Author:  JoeStieber [ Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lovely comet coming in December

I wonder what prompted citing C/2017 E4 (Lovejoy)? Currently, for an observer in New Jersey, it transits around 3 am at 7.5 deg altitude in Caelum. If that wasn’t difficult enough, the “The Live Sky” has it around magnitude 45, while SkyTools is a bit more generous, putting it about magnitude 25. In any case, virtually no chance for any of us to see it now.

I did spot E4 back in April of 2017 when it was in the magnitude 8-9 range, see my web page at, scroll down a little to the “Binocular Comet Foursome,” and then a little further to April 2.

Back to the thread topic, the window of opportunity to spot comet 46P/Wirtanen opens again on November 1, 2018 (the night of October 31), when the comet transits about 12:15 am EDT and the last-quarter moon rises about 12:30 am. The moon then rises 60+ minutes later on each of the next few mornings and the comet transits a few minutes earlier. I’m hoping for a clear morning during the first days of November so I can get out to the Pines for a look with the 12.5-inch scope (pictured below). 46P should be around magnitude 9 then, perhaps a little brighter.

46P reaches its most southerly declination around midnight November 3/4, transiting about 17 deg altitude in the first days of November, then starts heading north into a more favorable viewing position for those of us in the northern hemisphere.

Author:  doctorcos [ Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lovely comet coming in December

Back to comet 46P/Wirtanen.
Read and enjoy the fantastic article, "Brightest comet of the year will zoom near Earth next week," on the left two thirds of this webpage: ... 205179002/
Notice that there's a comment at the end of the article by someone named Lovejoy (LOL).

Author:  JoeStieber [ Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lovely comet coming in December

We never did learn the rationale for the recent post about last year's C/2017 E4 (Lovejoy). And indeed, the "Lovejoy" note at the end of the USA Today article is from Terry Lovejoy, the well-known comet discoverer, which includes C/2017 E4.

But don't waste time reading lame articles about comets — get out and look at one! In particular, 46P/Wirtanen is currently quite accessible.

I've seen 46P several times since my last post about it. Most recently, I saw it Monday night, December 3, 2018, with 15x56 binoculars from my backyard in light-polluted Maple Shade, NJ. It was at the threshold of visibility, but not that many comets are visible at all from here.

Last night, Tuesday, December 4, I went to Carranza Field in Wharton State Forest and 46P was easy in the binoculars, but I couldn't see it with unaided eyes (at the time, M31 and the Double Cluster were easy with unaided eyes, and with a bit more effort, M35). 46P was a fine sight in my 12.5-inch reflector, where I could see its movement in a relatively short time period (it was moving at a rate of about 2.2 degrees per day). No tail was apparent, just a large coma with a bright central core. I think I saw a tinge of greenish color.

I would also note (as I may have done before) that SkySafari plots the wrong position for 46P. Last night, it was off about 20 arc minutes. From a dark site where the comet is obvious, that doesn't matter too much, but it might have on Monday night when it was barely visible from backyard. I actually found a fuzzy spot near, but not at the spot SkySafari showed on the smartphone by my side. When I went back inside and checked SkyTools on my laptop, my observed position was on the button.

On Tuesday night at Carranza, I was also able to spot 38P/Stephan-Oterma with the 12.5-inch. It was a dim and difficult fuzz spot in Cancer, about 7° ENE of Pollux, and it was not seen at all with the 15x56s. However, SkySafari had the right position for this one (which also corresponded with the position indicated by SkyTools when I checked after returning home). The Minor Body Orbital Data (the "elements") were up-to-date, so maybe they still have some old ones for 46P.

Author:  doctorcos [ Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lovely comet coming in December

Your complete guide to Comet 46P/Wirtanen:

Author:  doctorcos [ Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lovely comet coming in December

Two more articles about Comet 46P/Wirtanen: ... hes-earth/

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