December 16, 2014

New discovered green comet Lovejoy heading our way and is brightening to naked-eye visibility

Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) discovered just a few months ago by Terry Lovejoy in Australia, (This is his fifth comet discovery) is heading our way out of deep space and out of the deep southern sky.

The green comet is brightening to naked-eye visibility as it moves into northern skies this holiday season.

Via spaceweather.com: Italian photographer Rolando Ligustri took the picture (above) on Dec. 15th.

Comet Lovejoy is brightening faster than experts predicted. Originally the comet was supposed to reach naked-eye visibility in January or February 2015. It may be crossing that threshold now. Reports from the southern hemisphere put the brightness of the comet at magnitude +6.0, similar to the dimmest stars the human eye can see.

On the nights around Christmas, "Comet Q2," as some are calling it, will glide just south of Sirius, the Dog Star.

Q2 is a very long-period comet, but this is not its first time coming through the inner solar system. On the way in, its path showed an orbital period of roughly 11,500 years.

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