Comet Lovejoy

Comet-Lovejoy-2014-Q2_by-Rhemann-23Dec2014

From Gerald Rhemann, 12/23/14, Austria via Namibia (www.skyandtelescope.com)

During this January, if your skies are not light polluted, look near the Pleiades with the naked eye on a clear, dark evening sky and you might catch small green glow representing Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2).  Comets are very large pieces of ice that travel through space, leaving a tail of gas and dust.  The term “comet” comes from the Greek kometes, which means “wearing long hair.”

C/2014 Q2 was discovered by Australian amateur Terry Lovejoy in August 2014.  At the time of this writing, the comet is about 44 million miles away from Earth.  Below is a chart of the comet’s location during January 2015.  After it leaves the planetary region, it is estimated that C/2014 Q2 will not be seen again in another 8000 years.

Lovejoy-thru-January_S1

Path of Comet Lovejoy during January 2015