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Look Up to See Latest Comet Lovejoy

时间: 2015年01月22日 | 作者: | 来源: 科学美国人

Many of us search for something worth watching on TV in our spare time. In his spare time, Terry Lovejoy searches for comets—and he’s found five so far. The Australian amateur astronomer’s latest discovery is called Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), and it’s in the midst of its brightest period.

 
Until January 24th, the comet will be at a brightness level of 4th magnitude, which means it can be seen with the naked eye in dark, clear skies. To spot Comet Lovejoy, just look in the direction of Orion, Taurus and the Pleiades, high in the southeast sky.
 
Terry Lovejoy discovered this interloper from the outer solar system last August by comparing photographs taken with his backyard eight-inch telescope.
 
His most famous discovery is the Comet C/2011 W3, which is what’s known as a Kreutz sungrazer. In December, 2011 it flew through the sun’s corona and emerged scorched, but surprisingly still intact.
 
The latest Comet Lovejoy won’t get nearly as close to the sun, but it should still provide nice views in the coming early evenings, especially if you use binoculars or a telescope. After which you’ll have plenty of evening left to fit in a little TV. Another viewing of Cosmos, anyone?
 
—Clara Moskowitz
 
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]