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A comet sails up the Milky Way…

Comets are found almost daily now, there are so many automated searches and amateur astronomers sweeping and scanning the sky for them. We all live in hope of a Great Comet being discovered – one which will be big and bright to the naked eye in the sky, you know, like ISON looked like it was going to be but in the end didn’t? – but the vast majority of comets discovered are destined to never get past the “small, dim smudge in a telescope eyepiece” stage. Which is fine; they’re all worth looking for and observing scientifically, as each one tells us something new and fascinating about comets.

Occasionally though, one of these comets offers us a little “something extra”, and that’s the case with newly-discovered “Comet Jacques”, or C/2014 E2 to give it its full title. Here’s one of the most recent images of it, showing it already has a coma…

Comet-E2-Ligustri-580x446

Comet C/2014 E2 Jacques photographed from Siding Spring Observatory on March 14, 2014. Credit: Rolando Ligustri

Comet Jacques was discovered on March 13th, and calculations of its orbit suggest it will be well placed for southern hemisphere observers, and might become a binocular object for northern hemisphere observers in late July too, when it will be here…

jacques july 29th

By August 12th, as we’re all looking forward to the annual Perseid meteor shower, Jacques will be here – IN Perseus, where the meteors will come from…

jacques Aug 12th

How bright will it get? Don’t know. It’s currently at around magnitude 11, which is faint, i.e. need-a-telescope-to-see-it faint, but it will get brighter as it closes in on the Sun and the Earth too, so by August it could well be a binocular comet. We’ll just have to wait and see.

But there are two very interesting things about Comet Jacques. Firstly, it’s path around the Sun will take it quite close to Venus. How close is “quite”? Well, just over 8 million miles away. That’s a long, long way to us here on Earth – we’re used to thinking places a hundred miles apart are a long way apart – but in astronomical terms that’s quite a close approach.

Of course, this means that the nutters and fruit loops who last year so confidently and fervently predicted Comet ISON would hit Mars or knock it out of orbit as it passed the Red Planet are going to crawl out from under their stones again and make the same pathetic Get A Life predictions for Jacques in relation to Venus, but they’ll be talking the same BS as always, so please try your best to ignore them. I know it’s hard, they’re everywhere, infesting Forums and Twitter and Facebook like rats in a sewer, and I can already imagine the dribbling lunatics, fake scientists and ranting Pastors declaring on their YouTube channels that the comet will interact magnetically/electrically with Venus, or envelop it in its poisonous coma, or send it spinning towards Earth… some will undoubtedly say that Jacques is “Nibiru”, sigh… but when Jacques sails harmlessly past Venus without anything happening they’ll all go quiet again and forget they ever said anything and move on to the next thing.

The other interesting thing is Comet Jacques’ path across the sky. Look…

jacques m way path

The comet is going to move right along the Milky Way, like a boat sailing up a river. How cute is that? Of course, this isn’t such good news for comet-watchers and imagers, who will be looking for a faint comet amongst the star clouds of the Milky Way, but I bet astro-imagers like Damian Peach will still get some gorgeous pictures..!

If you’d like to read more about this comet, there’s a brilliant article on it over on Universe Today:
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3 Responses

  1. […] im Ausbruch, eine Animation und Bilder hier, hier und hier von und Artikel hier, hier und hier zu Komet Jacques – und eine Korrelation von Finsternis-Düsternis und -Tiefe bei mehreren von […]

  2. my email kellysemail2006@yahoo.com thank you!

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