Comet Jacques – A Summer Comet

Well, well, well, it seems like northern hemisphere comet watchers might be in for a nice treat this summer. Comet Jacques is shaping up to be a decent sight in the sky after it rounds the Sun on July 3rd, perhaps reaching as bright as 3rd magnitude according to some, and will be very well placed for those of us in the north who are too often cheated of decent cometary shows. In fact, during August Comet Jacques will be visible right through the night, from dusk til dawn, and its path across the sky will take it right along the misty trail of the Milky Way, making it a very photogenic target too..

At the moment Comet Jacques is being observed and photographed by amateur astronomers with good telescopes, and it’s already looking pretty interesting even though it’s still a long way away. Here’s a recent photo of it taken by Efrain Morales, and posted on the Comet Watch Facebook group… full credit and tech details on the picture…

1477445_684571861605319_516100735_n Efrain Morales

But where is this comet? Here…

Apr 9

For northern hemisphere viewers it’s visible l0w in the W after sunset, quite challenging because of its low altitude and faintness. And as the next couple of months pass it will get harder and harder to see as it heads towards the Sun. But by the second week of July it should be worth looking for again in the morning sky…

July 10

And where will it be after that? Use these charts – created using the free planetarium software “Stellarium” – as your guides…

July 13

July 16

July 16b

July 26

Then into August…

Aug 1

Aug 4

Aug 11

Aug 15

Aug 20

Aug 24b

Aug 24c

Aug 31

And into September…

Sept 4

Sept 4b

Sept 9

Sept 14

So that’s where it will BE. How BRIGHT will it get, that’s what you’re all wanting to know, right? Well, this chart (full credit details on the image) is doing the rounds on Twitter and Facebook…

BktnMFICAAEGLJG.png large

…and it’s pretty encouraging, and while we’re obviously not talking a headline-grabbing “Great Comet” like… that one last year… it could be a nice naked eye object in early to mid-August, and looks like it will definitely be worth keeping an eye on. Who knows, it might brighten unexpectedly and put on a good show for us in the summer? Cross your fingers! But be prepared for just a “good comet” and try to look forward to enjoying it without any unnecessary pulse- and expectation-raising hype… šŸ™‚

2 Responses to “Comet Jacques – A Summer Comet”

  1. Thanks for the locations. I’ll have to get out the 14 or 25 power 100 mm binoculars and search for it. Comets don’t need to be too bright to see with those from the vacant Stennis Space Center acoustic easement. I might even put the 17 inch Dob back together, & have a look from my back patio in Slidell on Clearwood Dr. Panstarrs was cool on March 12, 2012 from Stennis with the giant binoculars. It wasn’t easy to find, even with the 14 X 100 Orion. I had to use the sliver of Moon to guide my search. The pine trees got it pretty fast.

  2. Hey thanks for the info, I have a question regarding Stellarium and was hoping you could answer it. I’ve never used a program like this but after messing around with it for half an hour I believe I’ve figured out how to track Jacques or any object for that matter. Was just wanting a confirmation from you as you seem to know how to use it better than I. To find Jacques I would first need to find my location and input it into the program by degrees,minutes,seconds. Then find my altitude/elevation and input that as well.

    Next set the time to be accurate and find the Right Ascension and Declination of Jacques or any object for that matter. Input it correctly and then I should be looking at where the approximate object will be correct? I’m wanting to be sure I’m doing it right before I explain it to others who might want to use it to find the comet as well. Thanks for your time and blog posts!

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