2013 Comet Lovejoy: Goodbye Comet ISON, Comet Lovejoy Puts on a Fine December Sky Display

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By Jenalyn Villamarin | December 9, 2013 12:35 PM EST

Comet ISON has disappointed the sky watchers after breaking up from its closest flyby to the Sun last November 28. However, the 2013 Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) puts on a fine sky display for viewers this December while making its solar approach.

According to the Digital Journal report, Comet Lovejoy began its visibility with the naked eye in the night sky last November. On Wednesday, December 4, the comet started to be located in the small constellation of Corona Borealis as it approaches the Sun and it will take place until Thursday, December 12.

Comet Lovejoy will be reaching its closest point to the Sun on Sunday, December 22, at a distance estimated to be over 75 million miles (approximately 121 million kilometers). Astronomers from the Stony Brook University and National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) have captured images of the comet's ion tail using the Subaru telescope located in Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

"The pictures, which were obtained using a wide-field, prime-focus camera known as Suprime-Cam, show the tail's 'intricate flow' using a combination of a wide field of view and high spatial resolution provides a clear delineation of the complex, wiggling streams in the comet's tail," the NAOJ stated in the Red Orbit report.

The space agency further added: "At the time of this observation, at around 5:30 am on December 3, 2013 (Hawaii Standard Time), Comet Lovejoy was 50 million miles (80 million km) distant from Earth and 80 million miles (130 million km) away from the Sun. Comet Lovejoy's visibility has been increasing in the eastern sky. The current image adds even more data about this newly-discovered comet."

Deborah Byrd of Earthsky.org gave a step-by-step guide to help the amateur astronomers in tracking down the 2013 Comet Lovejoy. The comet can be spotted low at pre-dawn in the north-northeastern skies as it gets closer to the horizon.

Spectators can have a look at Comet Lovejoy with the use of binoculars or telescope and clear skies before the crack of dawn in the Hercules constellation. The 2013 Comet Lovejoy is expected to fade away on December 30.

More Articles to Read:

2013 Geminid Meteor Shower: Watch for Sky Display on Thursday Night, December 5 with Second Meteor Shower Occurring Simultaneously - [READ]

2013 Comet ISON: Science Channel to Have Exclusive Documentary on Comet ISON's Trip Across the Solar System - [READ]

2013 Geminid Meteor Shower: Sky Event Set to Peak on December 13 and 14 - [READ]

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