I subscribe to quite a number of Facebook Pages which have been sharing actively on the Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) recently, so much so that my first reaction was to ignore the posts that were flooding my Facebook Newsfeed (if you are familiar with how Facebook works). In my mind, I was thinking “Oh, show me something else, please.” But if you have the same thought as I do, hold it and give these posts a chance.
On Friday, some of the posts finally caught my attention, in particular the post from our Science Centre Observatory and I clicked to read more. Okay, so we can actually see this one here in our night sky!
Comet Lovejoy, a comet which is now faintly visible with the naked eyes in the night skies, appears to be quite a pretty sight of green in the night sky (if you can locate and take a photograph of it). Named after its discoverer Terry Lovejoy of Queensland, Australia, the comet has actually made its closest approach to Earth (about 43.6 million miles or 70.2 million kilometers) on Wednesday, Jan. 7 (which is sadly over). But the good news is, you can still see it until the end of January! From the Facebook post I shared earlier, it is probably not very obvious when seen with the naked eye, so it’ll be better if you are equipped with a binoculars or you can drop by the Science Centre Observatory which is open for viewing every Friday and view it through the telescopes there. Here is a finder map which you can use to find it in the night sky.
In an article in http://www.space.com, it was described as a cosmic treat for the New Year. If you look at the photo above by Astrophotographer Justin Ng, I think you will probably agree with the statement. Such a whimsical feeling just looking at the photograph! Below is another photograph which Justin graciously shared with us when we sought his permission to share the first photo. The second one was taken on 15 January.
However, from the telescope or binoculars, you probably can only see a faint green glow without the tail as that could only be visible from photographs due to the long exposure time.
Nonetheless, don’t miss the chance to see it! It won’t be seen again in another 8,000 years!