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The last of the bright comets to arrive in 2013 was Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) which was faintly visible to the naked eye and easily seen in binoculars for most of December. After peaking at magnitude +4.3 at the end of November, Lovejoy gradually started to fade in brightness as it headed past perihelion and away from the inner Solar System. Based on recent observations it should still remain visible with binoculars and small telescopes for the remainder of January and into February.

So far the comet has been the reserve of Northern Hemisphere observers, those further south haven't had a look in. That will soon change in February when Lovejoy will be visible for the first time from southern latitudes, initially appearing very low down in the eastern sky during morning twilight.

Comet Lovejoy on November 13, 2013 (credit:- http://beardedgit.com/?p=9982)

Location and star chart

Lovejoy started 2014 moving in a southeasterly direction through Hercules. It remained in the constellation until January 14th before crossing into Ophiuchus. Lovejoy then continued in the same direction; however its speed of movement against the background stars noticeably started to slow down. On February 18th the comet moves into Serpens Cauda where it remains for the rest of the month.

It's predicted that Lovejoy will decrease from magnitude +6.1 on January 1st to magnitude +8.6 on February 28th. Although no longer a naked eye object it remains visible in binoculars until at least the middle of February. Telescopes owners will be able to follow the comet for many more weeks after this.

For Northern Hemisphere observers, Lovejoy is visible fairly high towards the east before sunrise. As previously mentioned, Southern Hemisphere observers get their first look at the comet in February, although it will start off very low down towards the east before improving in altitude as the month progresses.

The finder charts below show the positions of Lovejoy from December 30, 2013 to February 24, 2014 and from December 16, 2013 to January 23, 2014.

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) Finder Chart from December 30, 2013 to February 24, 2014

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) Finder Chart from December 30, 2013 to February 24, 2014 - pdf format

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) Finder Chart from December 16, 2013 to January 23, 2014

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) Finder Chart from December 16, 2013 to January 23, 2014 - pdf format

C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) Data (at epoch September 23, 2013)

NameC/2013 R1 (Lovejoy)
TypeComet
DiscovererTerry Lovejoy
Discovery dateSeptember 7, 2013
Aphelion (AU)678.767
Perihelion (AU)0.81161
Semi-major axis339.789
Eccentricity0.99761
Orbital period (years)6263.58
Inclination (degrees)64.0403
Longitude of ascending node (degrees)70.7012
PerihelionDecember 25, 2013
NotesFourth comet discovered by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) Data Table

DateRight AscensionDeclinationEstimated MagnitudeDistance from Earth (AU)Constellation
19 Jan 201417h 56m 47s12d 23m 36s7.01.353Ophiuchus
20 Jan 201417h 58m 03s12d 01m 03s7.11.365Ophiuchus
21 Jan 201417h 59m 19s11d 38m 50s7.11.376Ophiuchus
22 Jan 201418h 00m 32s11d 16m 58s7.21.387Ophiuchus
23 Jan 201418h 01m 45s10d 55m 26s7.21.398Ophiuchus
24 Jan 201418h 02m 56s10d 34m 14s7.31.409Ophiuchus
25 Jan 201418h 04m 06s10d 13m 21s7.31.419Ophiuchus
26 Jan 201418h 05m 14s09d 52m 47s7.41.429Ophiuchus
27 Jan 201418h 06m 21s09d 32m 32s7.41.439Ophiuchus
28 Jan 201418h 07m 27s09d 12m 35s7.51.448Ophiuchus
29 Jan 201418h 08m 32s08d 52m 56s7.51.457Ophiuchus
30 Jan 201418h 09m 35s08d 33m 34s7.61.466Ophiuchus
31 Jan 201418h 10m 37s08d 14m 29s7.61.474Ophiuchus
01 Feb 201418h 11m 38s07d 55m 41s7.71.482Ophiuchus
02 Feb 201418h 12m 38s07d 37m 09s7.71.490Ophiuchus
03 Feb 201418h 13m 36s07d 18m 52s7.71.497Ophiuchus
04 Feb 201418h 14m 33s07d 00m 51s7.81.504Ophiuchus
05 Feb 201418h 15m 29s06d 43m 05s7.81.511Ophiuchus
06 Feb 201418h 16m 24s06d 25m 32s7.91.517Ophiuchus
07 Feb 201418h 17m 17s06d 08m 14s7.91.523Ophiuchus
08 Feb 201418h 18m 09s05d 51m 09s7.91.529Ophiuchus
09 Feb 201418h 18m 60s05d 34m 17s8.01.535Ophiuchus
10 Feb 201418h 19m 49s05d 17m 37s8.01.540Ophiuchus
11 Feb 201418h 20m 37s05d 01m 10s8.11.545Ophiuchus
12 Feb 201418h 21m 24s04d 44m 54s8.11.550Serpens Cauda
13 Feb 201418h 22m 10s04d 28m 49s8.11.554Ophiuchus
14 Feb 201418h 22m 54s04d 12m 56s8.21.558Ophiuchus
15 Feb 201418h 23m 37s03d 57m 12s8.21.562Ophiuchus
16 Feb 201418h 24m 19s03d 41m 39s8.31.566Ophiuchus
17 Feb 201418h 24m 59s03d 26m 15s8.31.569Ophiuchus
18 Feb 201418h 25m 38s03d 11m 00s8.31.572Ophiuchus
19 Feb 201418h 26m 16s02d 55m 54s8.41.575Serpens Cauda
20 Feb 201418h 26m 52s02d 40m 57s8.41.578Serpens Cauda
21 Feb 201418h 27m 27s02d 26m 07s8.41.580Serpens Cauda
22 Feb 201418h 28m 00s02d 11m 25s8.51.582Serpens Cauda
23 Feb 201418h 28m 32s01d 56m 50s8.51.584Serpens Cauda
24 Feb 201418h 29m 03s01d 42m 21s8.51.585Serpens Cauda
25 Feb 201418h 29m 32s01d 27m 59s8.51.587Serpens Cauda
26 Feb 201418h 29m 59s01d 13m 43s8.61.588Serpens Cauda
27 Feb 201418h 30m 25s00d 59m 32s8.61.589Serpens Cauda
28 Feb 201418h 30m 49s00d 45m 26s8.61.590Serpens Cauda

See also

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) a January 2014 binocular comet
Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) continues to impress into December 2013
Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) a naked eye Northern Hemisphere comet during December
Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) remains a naked eye object, easy with binoculars
Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) reaches naked eye brightness
Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) visible with binoculars
Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) now within small telescope range