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Comet Lovejoy, the fourth comet to be discovered by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy, has now brightened sufficiently to be visible with popular 7x50 or 10x50 binoculars. As it continues to increase in brightness, Lovejoy will soon - at least from a reasonable dark site - be visible to the naked eye and is now predicted to peak at magnitude +4.9 during the last week of November.

Location, magnitude and star chart

During November, the comet continues to be a well-placed morning object for observers in the northern hemisphere. Those located further south are not so fortunate; from equatorial regions it's well placed for most of the month but from southern temperate latitudes, Lovejoy is only visible for about the first two weeks of November. After that it won't be observable until early February.

At the start of November, Lovejoy was located in the dim zodiac constellation of Cancer. On November 7th, it moved just south of beautiful naked eye and binocular open cluster M44 "the Praesepe" before continuing on into Leo on November 11th. As it approached and then passed by M44, Lovejoy was about magnitude +6.3 and a binocular object. Observations revealed a coma of about 10 arc minutes in diameter, although no obvious tail. The comet then cuts a brief passage through Leo, exiting on November 14th into Leo Minor. It continues to climb in a northeastern direction against the fixed background stars, consequently improving its altitude for northern-based observers. On November 16th, Lovejoy passes by star 30 Leo Minor (30 LMi - mag. +4.7). The comet on this day could be as bright as magnitude +5.2 and visible to the naked eye, with the star acting as a good finder object.

November 26th is the predicted peak brightness date for Lovejoy. Positioned in Canes Venatici, it's estimated to be about magnitude +4.9. The comet then slowly decreases in brightness as it heads towards perihelion on December 25th.

The finder chart below shows the positions of comet Lovejoy from November 5 to November 16, 2013.

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) Finder Chart from November 5 to November 16, 2013

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) Finder Chart from November 5 to November 16, 2013 - pdf format

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

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

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) Data Table

DateRight AscensionDeclinationEstimated MagnitudeDistance from Earth (AU)Constellation
01 Nov 201308h 04m 40s11d 04m 01s6.70.632Cancer
02 Nov 201308h 09m 59s12d 06m 12s6.60.612Cancer
03 Nov 201308h 15m 38s13d 12m 21s6.50.592Cancer
04 Nov 201308h 21m 41s14d 22m 42s6.40.573Cancer
05 Nov 201308h 28m 09s15d 37m 26s6.30.554Cancer
06 Nov 201308h 35m 07s16d 56m 42s6.20.536Cancer
07 Nov 201308h 42m 35s18d 20m 36s6.10.519Cancer
08 Nov 201308h 50m 39s19d 49m 09s6.00.502Cancer
09 Nov 201308h 59m 21s21d 22m 16s5.90.486Cancer
10 Nov 201309h 08m 46s22d 59m 44s5.80.472Cancer
11 Nov 201309h 18m 59s24d 41m 07s5.70.458Cancer
12 Nov 201309h 30m 02s26d 25m 49s5.60.445Leo
13 Nov 201309h 42m 01s28d 12m 56s5.50.434Leo
14 Nov 201309h 54m 59s30d 01m 19s5.40.424Leo
15 Nov 201310h 08m 59s31d 49m 28s5.30.415Leo Minor
16 Nov 201310h 24m 04s33d 35m 40s5.20.408Leo Minor
17 Nov 201310h 40m 13s35d 17m 53s5.10.403Leo Minor
18 Nov 201310h 57m 25s36d 53m 59s5.00.399Ursa Major
19 Nov 201311h 15m 33s38d 21m 49s5.00.397Ursa Major
20 Nov 201311h 34m 29s39d 39m 22s5.00.397Ursa Major
21 Nov 201311h 54m 02s40d 44m 57s4.90.398Ursa Major
22 Nov 201312h 13m 56s41d 37m 22s4.90.401Canes Venatici
23 Nov 201312h 33m 55s42d 15m 60s4.90.406Canes Venatici
24 Nov 201312h 53m 43s42d 40m 52s4.90.412Canes Venatici
25 Nov 201313h 13m 02s42d 52m 34s4.90.420Canes Venatici
26 Nov 201313h 31m 40s42d 52m 09s4.90.429Canes Venatici
27 Nov 201313h 49m 24s42d 41m 01s4.90.439Canes Venatici
28 Nov 201314h 06m 09s42d 20m 43s4.90.451Canes Venatici
29 Nov 201314h 21m 50s41d 52m 52s5.00.464Boötes
30 Nov 201314h 36m 25s41d 18m 58s5.00.478Boötes
01 Dec 201314h 49m 55s40d 40m 25s5.00.492Boötes
02 Dec 201315h 02m 23s39d 58m 26s5.10.508Boötes
03 Dec 201315h 13m 52s39d 14m 00s5.10.524Boötes
04 Dec 201315h 24m 26s38d 27m 60s5.10.541Boötes
05 Dec 201315h 34m 09s37d 41m 03s5.20.559Corona Borealis
06 Dec 201315h 43m 06s36d 53m 43s5.20.577Corona Borealis
07 Dec 201315h 51m 21s36d 06m 22s5.30.595Corona Borealis
08 Dec 201315h 58m 57s35d 19m 20s5.30.614Corona Borealis
09 Dec 201316h 05m 59s34d 32m 48s5.40.633Corona Borealis
10 Dec 201316h 12m 29s33d 46m 57s5.40.652Corona Borealis
11 Dec 201316h 18m 32s33d 01m 52s5.40.672Corona Borealis
12 Dec 201316h 24m 08s32d 17m 38s5.50.692Corona Borealis
13 Dec 201316h 29m 22s31d 34m 16s5.50.712Hercules
14 Dec 201316h 34m 15s30d 51m 47s5.60.732Hercules
15 Dec 201316h 38m 49s30d 10m 12s5.60.752Hercules
16 Dec 201316h 43m 06s29d 29m 29s5.70.772Hercules
17 Dec 201316h 47m 08s28d 49m 37s5.70.792Hercules
18 Dec 201316h 50m 56s28d 10m 34s5.80.812Hercules
19 Dec 201316h 54m 30s27d 32m 19s5.80.832Hercules
20 Dec 201316h 57m 54s26d 54m 51s5.80.853Hercules
21 Dec 201317h 01m 07s26d 18m 06s5.90.873Hercules
22 Dec 201317h 04m 10s25d 42m 03s5.90.892Hercules
23 Dec 201317h 07m 04s25d 06m 41s6.00.912Hercules
24 Dec 201317h 09m 50s24d 31m 58s6.00.932Hercules
25 Dec 201317h 12m 29s23d 57m 52s6.10.951Hercules
26 Dec 201317h 15m 01s23d 24m 23s6.10.971Hercules
27 Dec 201317h 17m 27s22d 51m 27s6.20.990Hercules
28 Dec 201317h 19m 47s22d 19m 05s6.21.009Hercules
29 Dec 201317h 22m 02s21d 47m 15s6.31.027Hercules
30 Dec 201317h 24m 12s21d 15m 57s6.31.046Hercules
31 Dec 201317h 26m 18s20d 45m 09s6.41.064Hercules

See also

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) remains visible with binoculars and small telescopes
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) now within small telescope range