G A R Y   W.   K R O N K ' S   C O M E T O G R A P H Y

C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy)

Orbit by Patrick Rocher

Image of comet Lovejoy on 2013 November 7
Copyright © 2013 by Damian Peach (Selsey, West Sussex, England)

This image was acquired on 2013 November 7. The tail of the comet extends into the open star cluster variously known as the M44, the "Beehive Cluster," and "Praesepe," the latter being Latin for manger.

Discovery

Terry Lovejoy (Thornlands, Queensland, Australia) discovered this comet on images acquired during 2013 September 7 and September 8, using his 20-cm reflector and a CCD camera. The comet was found as a result of a regular survey Lovejoy conducts to search for new comets. On the six initial images acquired by Lovejoy, the comet's magnitude was given as 14.3-14.8.

Image of comet Lovejoy on 2013 September 7
Copyright © 2013 by Terry Lovejoy (Stixendorf, Austria)

These are the three discovery images acquired by Lovejoy on 2013 September 7.7. Each exposure was 14 seconds in length and 8.5 minutes separated each image.

The first observers to independently confirm the comet were Ernesto Guido and Nick Howes (Remanzacco Observatory, Italy), who first photographed the comet on September 7.7 while remotely using the 32-cm reflector and a CCD camera at iTelescope (Siding Spring Observatory, Australia). They gave the magnitude as 15.5-15.8. In addition, Guido and Howes noted a "sharp central condensation surrounded by a coma about 25" in diameter," as well as a tail extending about 40" toward PA 245 degrees.

Early Orbit Calculations

The first orbit was published on Minor Planet Electronic Circular 2013-R72, published on 2013 September 9. Using 49 positions spanning September 7-9, Gareth V. Williams calculated a parabolic orbit with a perihelion date of 2013 December 25.79 and a perihelion distance of 0.877 AU.

Historical Details

  • Todd Augustyniak (Harmon, Illinois, USA) observed the comet using his 46-cm reflector on September 14 and gave the magnitude as 13.1. He added that the coma was 1.4' across and slightly condensed. Following interference from the Moon, John Drummond (Bisborne, New Zealand) saw the comet with his 41-cm reflector on September 27 and gave the magnitude as 10.8. He said the coma was 4.0' across and slightly condensed. The comet was well observed during October, beginning the month at about magnitude 10.5 and ending the month at about magnitude 7-7.5. The brightest magnitudes were being reported by observers using binoculars, the smallest of which were 10x50 binoculars. Piotr Guzik (Poland) reported the first naked-eye observation on November 1. He gave the magnitude as 6.7 and said the coma seemed moderately condensed and about 15' across. Additional naked-eye observations were reported by other observers during the next few days. Observers were finding the comet brighter than magnitude 6 by November 10 and there were observers who found the comet around magnitude 4.8-5.2 during the last half of the month. Willian Souza (Sao Paulo, Brazil) observed a tail 1.7 degrees long and extending toward PA 300 degrees on the 14th, using 10x50 binoculars. J. J. Gonzalez (Spain) observed the comet using 10x50 binoculars, noting the tail extended 1.7 degrees toward PA 310 degrees on the 23rd and 2.3 degrees toward PA 320 degrees on the 25th. Most observers reported the coma was moderately condensed and within the range of 12-17 arc minutes during the entire month.

    Additional Images

    Image of comet Lovejoy on 2013 September 8
    Copyright © 2013 by Ernesto Guido and Nick Howes (Italy)

    This image was acquired on 2013 September 8.


    Image of comet Lovejoy on 2013 September 10
    Copyright © 2013 by Michael Jäger (Stixendorf, Austria)

    This image was acquired on 2013 September 10. It is a single 270-second exposure.


    Image of comet Lovejoy on 2013 October 1
    Copyright © 2013 by Denis Buczynski (Scotland)

    This image was acquired on 2013 October 1.


    Image of comet Lovejoy on 2013 October 4
    Copyright © 2013 by Gerald Rhemann (Austria)

    This image was acquired on 2013 October 4 from Namibia, Africa. It was acquired usng an ASA 31-cm astrograph and an FLI ML 830 CCD camera. Four total exposures were overlaid to produce this color image, a 20-minute exposure with an L filter and 15-minute exposures with R, G, and B filters.


    Image of comet Lovejoy on 2013 October 31
    Copyright © 2013 by Damian Peach (Selsey, West Sussex, England)

    This image was acquired on 2013 October 31. The image reveals a "broad fan shaped condensation around half way along the tail."


    Image of comet Lovejoy on 2013 November 6
    Copyright © 2013 by Martin P. Mobberley (England)

    This image was acquired on 2013 November 6.


    Image of comet Lovejoy on 2013 November 27
    Copyright © 2013 by Martin P. Mobberley (England)

    This image was acquired on 2013 November 27.

  • cometography.com 
    Current Comets  |  Periodic  |  Sungrazers  |  Links  |  Comet Information
    Meteor Showers Online

    Media Inquiries