Wannabe Whitby astronomers can make the most of a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Comet Lovejoy.
Originally expected to a reasonable binocular object under dark skies, comet Lovejoy has surprised all, becoming a naked eye object visible in the winter sky to the south.
People will still require a dark sky away from light pollution to spot it, however it should be readily visible through binoculars or a telescope.
The comet passed closest to Earth at a distance of 70 million km) on January 7, but it doesn’t reach perihelion with the Sun until January 30, at a rather distant 120 million miles.
Astronomers are hopeful that for a while, the comet will continue to brighten.
The comet is passing up to the right of Orion, through Taurus and Aries, which are located to the south during evenings. By now, the comet should be at its brightest.
By next Friday (Jan 23), the comet will probably start to fade and by the 26th moonlight will interfere.
If conditions allow, Whitby and District Astronomical Society will be observing the comet at its next open night at the Bruce Observatory – Caedmon College, on Sunday. The comet won’t be seen again for 8,000 years.