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new comet discovery C/2014Q2 Lovejoy

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Denis Buczynski's picture
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new comet discovery C/2014Q2 Lovejoy

The discovery of a new comet on 2014 Aug 17.7 (designated C/2014Q2) by the Austrailian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy in Queensland using his own back garden equipment( C8 telescope with a f2.1 reducer, Vixen Sphinx mount and a QHY9 ccd camera)is an impressive feat. More so when considers the competion from large professional survey teams which is so intense. This discovery is not a one off lucky chance either. This is Terry's 4th discovery in recent years. It is the result of many years of technique and computer programming development(his own software). No doubt he will discover more comets as he only 48 years old. So the days of comet discoveries by amateurs is far from over. In recent years we have seen comets discovered by Borisov,Elinen, Breunjes,Rinner, Jacques and Lovejoy.Perhaps we could also include Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok who discovered C/2012S1 ISON. With the correct techniques, discoveries can still be made.However none of these recent discoveries have been made visually, perhaps(bar lucky circumstances)those days may be over.The prospect of a a visual discovery by means of a systematic nightly search is small. One other aspect of this discovery was the cooperative effort by other amateur astronomers around the world to obtain confirmatory and positional data on this new comet. When one looks at M.P.E.C. 2014-Q10 Issued 2014 Aug. 19, 19:42 UT the first positional data recorded are all by amateur stations thus: Observer details: I39 Observatorio Cruz del Sur, San Justo. Observer A. Chapman. 0.20-m f/4 reflector + CCD. Q80 Birkdale. Observer T. Lovejoy. 0.20-m f/2.1 Schmidt-Cassegrain + CCD. W95 Observatorio Panameno, San Pedro de Atacama. Observer A. Maury. Measurer J. Fabrega. W96 CAO, San Pedro de Atacama (since 2013). Observers A. Maury, J.-F. Soulier. Measurer J.-F. Soulier. 0.4-m f/8 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD. Y00 SONEAR Observatory, Oliveira. Observers C. Jacques, E. Pimentel, J. Barros. Measurer C. Jacques. 0.28-m f/2.2 astrograph + CCD. As soon as the discovery notice was placed on NEOCP these amateur stations were working hard to obtain the data which confimed the discovery and allowed an inital orbit to be computed by MPC. The drama of the night was relayed to me in an email to the BAA COmet discussion group by Tony Angel (a BAA observer in Spain) "I saw most of it the event unfold on the Comet Watch Facebook page. At about 0200 hours this morning Cristovao Jacques posted a notice from the MPC asking Terry if it was his. I checked the coordinates and noted that it would not be visible for me. A friend of mine Andres Chapman in Argentina posted that he would be able to observe the location and coordinated his observations with Terry which he did at 0835 UT, then Cristovao Jacques came through with his observations eight hours ago. Quite a nail biting experience." So we have reason we rejoice that amateurs are still able to discover comets by their own efforts and innovation and that there is a very strong cooperative spirit amongst their compatriots abroad. well done Terry and all involved. Denis Buczynski secretary Comet Section BAA

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