Okay, I know that it is already past New Year on the other side of the International Date Line, but here on this side of the IDL we still have several hours before the ‘ball’ drops. I would suggest perhaps going outside this evening to see the sky as depicted in this graphic however if your temperatures are like ours in the midwest U.S.A. then this could be one of those bitterly cold nights where the Pawn Shop owner might say, “It was so cold my balls fell off!”
Comet Lovejoy (C2014 Q2) has brightened to less than 6th magnitude meaning it is now naked-eye visible in dark enough skies, and certainly visible through binoculars and obviously telescopes. Unfortunately the waxing Moon is passing through this part of the sky and its reflected brightness is making it less than easy to see things like a comet. Wait a few days and not only will the Moon have moved eastward out of the picture, but the comet ‘should’ be brighter as it reaches perihelion on the 30th, less than a month after the Earth was also closest to the Sun (4 January).
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.