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Saturday, December 24, 2011

COMET LOVEJOY

Picture from http://www.spaceweather.com/ For a video of the view of this comet from the International Space Station and commentary from one of the Astronauts, go to this link. http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=125774121

This amazing comet which is in the early morning sky, in the southern hemisphere, is not visible in the northern hemisphere.  It became a naked eye object in the southern hemisphere just a couple of days ago.  "Comet Lovejoy should reach Northern Hemisphere skies by early April. The comet will head north from the constellation Indus, passing between the constellations Capricornus and Sagittarius in early April. By the last half of April, Comet Lovejoy should be slicing through the constellation Aquila."
http://www.nzweather.net/threads/comet-lovejoy.4035/

Keep an eye on the early morning sky, just before sun-up, and you might just be the first one in your area to spot this natural wonder.

Comet Lovejoy is an amazing story.  On November 27, 2011 an Australian amateur astronomer named Terry Lovejoy made the initial discovery.  His story, in his own words, are at this link http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/comets-ml/message/18445  What he found is what is known as a Kreutz Sungrazing comet which means when he found it, it was heading at the sun.  After it was discovered and confirmed by the professional astronomers(with larger telescopes,better cameras, space stations and sun orbiting satellites), it was thought that it was going to fly into the sun or so close that it was going to simply burn up.  To every ones surprise and amazement, after the comet disappeared into the fiery sun, it actually emerged from the other side.  Up until this point, the comet was only visible with telescopes with digital cameras.  After the comet brushed up against the sun and headed out the other side, with the tail wrapped around the sun, it slowly became more and more visible to the point where on the morning of December 21, 2011, sky watchers in the southern hemisphere started sharing images of this comet on the Internet.  In the following mornings the comet was standing out as one the biggest and brightest comets of the last several years.  This could be the brightest comet in many generations.  Stay tuned, the story of Comet Lovejoy could be just getting started...

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap111217.html

http://youtu.be/qZBy7Ev63VY

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