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Sadly it seems that much hyped comet ISON (C/2012 S1) may not have survived intact when it passed incredibly close to the Sun - within 1.87 million kilometres or 1.16 million miles - during perihelion on November 28th. Although ISON may have fizzled out, there is another comet currently visible to the naked eye; it's name, Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1).

Location and star chart

At the end of November and the beginning of December, Lovejoy reaches its peak brightness period. On November 30th, the comet was at magnitude +4.3 and visible to the naked eye. It was an easy binocular object with a 2 degree tail and should remain at this magnitude for a few more days before fading slightly during the rest of the month. We now predict that Lovejoy will dim to magnitude +6.0 at the end of 2013.

Lovejoy remains superbly placed for northern hemisphere observers until well into 2014. It's positioned high in the morning sky as it moves through Canes Venatici, Boötes, Corona Borealis and then into Hercules. However, those located in the Southern Hemisphere aren't so lucky; Lovejoy won't be observable from mid-November until early February.

The finder charts below show the positions of comet Lovejoy from November 27 to December 11, 2013 and from November 22 to November 30, 2013.

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) Finder Chart from November 27 to December 11, 2013

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) Finder Chart from November 27 to December 11, 2013 - pdf format

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) Finder Chart from November 22 to November 30, 2013

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) Finder Chart from November 22 to November 30, 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
30 Nov 201314h 36m 25s41d 18m 58s4.30.478Boötes
01 Dec 201314h 49m 55s40d 40m 25s4.30.492Boötes
02 Dec 201315h 02m 23s39d 58m 26s4.40.508Boötes
03 Dec 201315h 13m 52s39d 14m 00s4.50.524Boötes
04 Dec 201315h 24m 26s38d 27m 60s4.50.541Boötes
05 Dec 201315h 34m 09s37d 41m 03s4.60.559Corona Borealis
06 Dec 201315h 43m 06s36d 53m 43s4.60.577Corona Borealis
07 Dec 201315h 51m 21s36d 06m 22s4.70.595Corona Borealis
08 Dec 201315h 58m 57s35d 19m 20s4.70.614Corona Borealis
09 Dec 201316h 05m 59s34d 32m 48s4.80.633Corona Borealis
10 Dec 201316h 12m 29s33d 46m 57s4.80.652Corona Borealis
11 Dec 201316h 18m 32s33d 01m 52s4.90.672Corona Borealis
12 Dec 201316h 24m 08s32d 17m 38s5.00.692Corona Borealis
13 Dec 201316h 29m 22s31d 34m 16s5.00.712Hercules
14 Dec 201316h 34m 15s30d 51m 47s5.10.732Hercules
15 Dec 201316h 38m 49s30d 10m 12s5.10.752Hercules
16 Dec 201316h 43m 06s29d 29m 29s5.20.772Hercules
17 Dec 201316h 47m 08s28d 49m 37s5.30.792Hercules
18 Dec 201316h 50m 56s28d 10m 34s5.40.812Hercules
19 Dec 201316h 54m 30s27d 32m 19s5.40.832Hercules
20 Dec 201316h 57m 54s26d 54m 51s5.50.853Hercules
21 Dec 201317h 01m 07s26d 18m 06s5.50.873Hercules
22 Dec 201317h 04m 10s25d 42m 03s5.60.892Hercules
23 Dec 201317h 07m 04s25d 06m 41s5.60.912Hercules
24 Dec 201317h 09m 50s24d 31m 58s5.70.932Hercules
25 Dec 201317h 12m 29s23d 57m 52s5.80.951Hercules
26 Dec 201317h 15m 01s23d 24m 23s5.80.971Hercules
27 Dec 201317h 17m 27s22d 51m 27s5.90.990Hercules
28 Dec 201317h 19m 47s22d 19m 05s5.91.009Hercules
29 Dec 201317h 22m 02s21d 47m 15s6.01.027Hercules
30 Dec 201317h 24m 12s21d 15m 57s6.01.046Hercules
31 Dec 201317h 26m 18s20d 45m 09s6.01.064Hercules

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
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