Lovejoy's tail with binoculars

Third Lovejoy observation, and the comet improved further: Last night I glimpsed C/2014 Q2's faint tail with 10x50 binoculars using averted vision while benefiting from a very dark (fst. >6mag) sky in southern Chile again. It looked like a pale, straight line. The coma was easily visible naked eye as a blurred star, with binoculars I estimated its brightness to 5.7mag and its diameter to 20'.


A new Deep Sky Object, outshined by Aldebaran?

Only on very rare occasions amateurs discover new Deep Sky Objects (DSO) these days, this might be one: A British amateur found a strange disk-like object when comparing one of his images with deeper ones which is not recorded in any database. The reason for this may be its unfavorable location - pretty close to a very bright star, Aldebaran in Taurus.


Christmas Comet Coming

After I briefly observed Christmas comet-to-be C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy visually last weekend, I managed to take some pictures last night. With the sky clear and dark, the comet was once again visible with the unaided eye and bright in binoculars. (Lovejoy is currently a southern hemisphere object, but will be visible from northern latitudes by the end of December.)


Geminid Night (with more than just Geminids)

Last night was Geminid peak night - and although I am currently located deep south (Chilean Patagonia, 47° latitude), I was hoping for a good show. The constellation of Gemini never rises high over the horizon here, this reduces hour rates but should compensate with some nice earth grazers.


Europe's Pride

Rosetta and Philae did not only conquer comet "Chury", but also our hearts and minds. This alone was worth the effort.

This article originally appeared in German on Nov 19, 2014 in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. You find an online version here.