Look for Comet Lovejoy in the Early December Mornings

By: Earth Sky
By: Earth Sky

For the most part, Comet ISON has faded. It is not rxpected to become a bright comet in our sky but another comet has lurked quietly – but visibly – in Earth’s late night and morning skies this past month.

C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) became visible to the unaided eye on November 1. It made its closest approach to Earth on November 19 at a distance of nearly 37 million miles (59 million km). It will be closest to the sun on December 25.

In late November, Comet Lovejoy was near the bottom of the handle of the Big Dipper. If you can find the Big Dipper, you can use it as a starting point to glimpsing Comet Lovejoy throughout December. The comet is visible in the wee hours now, but the charts below show the comet closer to dawn.

Face northeast before dawn to find the Big Dipper. Then follow the arc in the Big Dipper’s handle to the orange star Arcturus.

Once you find Arcturus, you can use that bright star as your guide to Lovejoy. The photos and charts below show how to do it.

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