Daytime Comet Reminder

Will Comet C/2011 W3 Lovejoy be visible in the daytime? This is the morning to find out. Look about 2° below the rising Sun once it is well up in the clear sky for a small white object. Two degrees is four times the Sun’s width in the sky.

C2006/P1 McNaught
C2006/P1 McNaught photographed five degrees from the Sun, stack of three images
If the comet is not visible to the eye, it should be spectacularly visible in the imagery sent back by one of our solar monitoring satellites. Check out the SOHO page for the latest imagery. The comet should have entered the field of view of the LASCO C3 instrument early on Dec 14th (late on the 13th HST) and well in by the time this posts. If the comet does not survive perihelion passage, this is one of the best views of the event.

I have seen one other daytime comet in my life, C2006/P1 McNaught back in January of 2007. That time the comet was about 5° from the Sun, over twice as far away from the glare. The photo at the right should give an idea of what to look for today. Remember to shield your eyes from the Sun’s glare by positioning yourself to put the Sun behind some object like a wall or streetlight. There is no guarantee that Lovejoy will be at all visible, but it is worth taking a look this morning.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *