Re: Comet Lovejoy 27 December + images from Victoria
- --- In email@example.com, "Rob" <Rob.Kau@...> wrote:
>At this time I would hasten to point out that based on descriptions of the Post-T evolution so far, 2011 W3 is almost precisely mimicing the physical appearance of the Great Southern Comet of 1880 during it apparition.
> Was it John Bortle who predicted the comet would expand & dim to became a huge 'ghost'? Because that's the impression I got. The comet would still be a striking sight away from the Milky Way, but even in amongst it I found the sight of this great ghost transfixing, a true wonder!
> Rob Kaufman
> Bright, Vic, Australia
If this continues I would predict that by about next weekend 2011 W3's tail will have assumed essentially the same low level of brightness over virtually its entire length. As it fades toward obscurity, it will attain a maximum length between 50 and 60 degrees as seen from the darkest observing sites, but be exceedingly faint and ghostly in its appearance. At the same time
the head will fade way completely, the sunward end of the tail simply fading to nothingness against the sky.
Incidentally, my main computer is down and I'm working from a tiny and frustrating laptop, so please forgive typing errors. I'm also unsure just how much I will be able to participate on the forum this week until my big machine returns.
- Hi all,
This morning (Dec. 26, 1600-1650 UT) about 37 degrees of tail could be seen from Cowra, reaching up to the outer edges of the Southern Cross. Interestingly, this was the first time that something that could be called a "head" was discernible in the 25x100 BT. At the end of the tail, there was a small (approx 4 arcmin) very diffuse, transparent nebulous blob slightly brighter than the adjoining tail (m = 5.3). The distinction between "head' and "tail end" was more apparent using averted vision, but it was truly there! The two earlier sungrazers that I saw developed in a similar way, albeit much later after perihelion. Ikeya-Seki about 7 weeks after perihelion and White-Ortiz-Bolelli about 3. I would guess that the early diffusing of 2011 W3 probably signifies a small comet shutting down whilst still closer to the Sun rather than one that is disintegrating.
On the other hand, the tail (although much fainter) is still very distinct and remains impressive in a dark sky. The length is truly amazing ... lengthening even while it fades!
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2011 04:19:20 +0800
Subject: [comets-ml] Comet Lovejoy 27 December
As the comet's tail rose tonight it was at first hard to pick against
the Milky Way background. The higher it rose the easier it became because of
the straight edges of the tail. It has faded considerably since I observed
it last on the 24th December but is now much longer at 28 degrees. It became
striking to observe only when its full length was above the horizon and it
stood vertically below the Southern Cross. All the intensity has gone out of
the head and tail. I have posted a picture at:
Regards, Jim Gifford
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