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If you live in the Northern Hemisphere the next few weeks offer a superb opportunity to spot Comet Jacques. The comet appears high in the sky and passes just north of the famous and easily recognisable "W" of Cassiopeia. Although not visible to the naked eye, Jacques shines at 7th magnitude and therefore within the range of binoculars and small telescopes.

Jacques was discovered by Cristovao Jacques, Eduardo Pimentel and Joao Ribeiro de Barros on March 13, 2014, shining at a dim magnitude +14.7. The comet passed perihelion on July 2nd when it approached to within 0.66 AU (99 million kilometres or 61 million miles) of the Sun. On August 28th, Jacques will pass closest to the Earth at distance of 0.56 AU (84 million kilometres or 52 million miles). It will be visible in Cepheus at magnitude +7.5 on this day.

Comet Jacques (C/2014 E2) imaged from Siding Spring Observatory on March 14, 2014 (Rolando Ligustri)

Location and star chart

Before, during and after flyby of Earth, Jacques moves at it's fastest against the "fixed" background stars. The comet began August in the constellation Auriga before moving into Perseus on August 5th. It then passed into Camelopardalis on August 14th remaining there for a few days before moving into Cassiopeia on the 18th. Jacques is currently moving westwards and between August 22nd and 26th passes about 5 degrees north of the Cassiopeia "W" asterism. With a declination of 60+ degrees north during this time, Jacques is circumpolar and hence visible all night from latitudes of 30N or more. On August 26th, the comet moves into Cepheus where it remains for the rest of the month. It will pass 0.5 degrees south of Herschel's famous Garnet Star (μ Cep - mag. +4.1(v)) on the last day of the month. From southern temperate latitudes, Jacques won't be visible again until early September.

The comet is expected to fade from magnitude +6.5 to +7.6 during August. So far it has put on a fine show with a nice coma and small tail visible through binoculars and small telescopes. Photographically it looks green in appearance.

The finder chart below shows the positions of Jacques from August 22 to August 31, 2014.

Comet Jacques (C/2014 E2) Finder Chart from August 22 to 31, 2014

Comet Jacques (C/2014 E2) Finder Chart from August 22 to 31, 2014 - pdf format

C/2014 E2 (Jacques) Data (at epoch May 23, 2014)

NameC/2014 E2 (Jacques)
DiscovererCristovao Jacques, Eduardo Pimentel and Joao Ribeiro de Barros
Discovery dateMarch 13, 2014
Aphelion (AU)1445.3
Perihelion (AU)0.66384
Semi-major axis722.98
Orbital period (years)19440
Inclination (degrees) 156.39
Longitude of ascending node (degrees)56.389
Perihelion July 2, 2014
Notes Magnitude +14.7 at discovery

Comet (C/2014 E2) Jacques Data Table

Comet (C/2014 E2) Jacques Data Table

DateRight AscensionDeclinationMag.Distance from Earth (AU)Constellation
01 Aug 201405h 03m 24s36d 59m 41s6.51.048Auriga
02 Aug 201405h 00m 43s37d 51m 41s6.51.024Auriga
03 Aug 201404h 57m 52s38d 45m 56s6.60.999Auriga
04 Aug 201404h 54m 49s39d 42m 35s6.60.975Auriga
05 Aug 201404h 51m 33s40d 41m 47s6.60.951Auriga
06 Aug 201404h 48m 00s41d 43m 41s6.60.927Perseus
07 Aug 201404h 44m 10s42d 48m 25s6.70.903Perseus
08 Aug 201404h 39m 59s43d 56m 07s6.70.879Perseus
09 Aug 201404h 35m 24s45d 06m 54s6.70.855Perseus
10 Aug 201404h 30m 22s46d 20m 53s6.70.832Perseus
11 Aug 201404h 24m 46s47d 38m 08s6.70.809Perseus
12 Aug 201404h 18m 33s48d 58m 38s6.80.787Perseus
13 Aug 201404h 11m 35s50d 22m 21s6.80.765Perseus
14 Aug 201404h 03m 45s51d 49m 07s6.90.744Perseus
15 Aug 201403h 54m 53s53d 18m 36s6.90.723Camelopardalis
16 Aug 201403h 44m 46s54d 50m 19s6.90.703Camelopardalis
17 Aug 201403h 33m 12s56d 23m 28s6.90.684Camelopardalis
18 Aug 201403h 19m 54s57d 56m 57s6.90.667Camelopardalis
19 Aug 201403h 04m 34s59d 29m 12s7.00.650Cassiopeia
20 Aug 201402h 46m 52s60d 58m 04s7.00.634Cassiopeia
21 Aug 201402h 26m 28s62d 20m 46s7.10.619Cassiopeia
22 Aug 201402h 03m 09s63d 33m 48s7.10.606Cassiopeia
23 Aug 201401h 36m 49s64d 33m 05s7.20.595Cassiopeia
24 Aug 201401h 07m 42s65d 14m 09s7.20.585Cassiopeia
25 Aug 201400h 36m 27s65d 32m 48s7.30.577Cassiopeia
26 Aug 201400h 04m 06s65d 25m 52s7.40.571Cassiopeia
27 Aug 201423h 31m 57s64d 51m 54s7.40.567Cepheus
28 Aug 201423h 01m 13s63d 51m 32s7.50.564Cepheus
29 Aug 201422h 32m 51s62d 27m 19s7.50.564Cepheus
30 Aug 201422h 07m 24s60d 43m 01s7.60.566Cepheus
31 Aug 201421h 44m 59s58d 42m 59s7.60.570Cepheus

See also

Comet Jacques (C/2014 E2) now within small telescope range
Comet Jacques (C/2014 E2) visible with binoculars and small scopes
Comet Jacques (C/2014 E2) moves north, remains visible with binoculars
Comet Jacques (C/2014 E2) remains within binocular range
Comet Jacques (C/2014 E2) high in the sky during September