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Ison and Comet Lovejoy from West Ar 11-11-2013

Ison LovejoyFrom the Montre Observatory in west of comets yet? Right now, northern hemisphere observers have four (!) comets within range of binoculars in the dawn sky. Comet C/2012 S1 ISON, is, of course, expected to dazzle towards month's end. Comet 2P/Encke is an "old standby," with the shortest orbital period of any comet known at years, and is making a favorable appearance this Fall. And comet C/2012 X1 LINEAR added to the morning display recently, reaching about +8th magnitude in an unexpected the brightest and best placed comet for morning viewing is currently Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy. Shining at +6th magnitude, R1 Lovejoy just passed into the constellation Leo after a photogenic pass near the Beehive Cluster (M44) in Cancer last week. We caught sight of R1 Lovejoy a few mornings ago, and it's an easy binocular object, looking like a fuzzy unresolved globular cluster with barely the hint of a the name sounds familiar, that's because the comet was discovered by Australian observer Terry Lovejoy, the prolific discoverer of four comets, including the brilliant sungrazing Comet C/2011 W3 Lovejoy that survived its 140,000 kilometre perihelion passage above the surface of the Sun on December 16th and went on to dazzle southern hemisphere observers in late 2011 and early 2012.

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