Comet Lovejoy Rotation Animation

q2-jan19-20-21_2015-l
Comet Lovejoy Rotation – Jan 19th, 20th and 21st, 2015. Images are roughly 24 hrs apart. It appears to go through about a third of a revolution in 3 days. So, is it roughly 9 days for it to return to the same orientation?

Well, well… the comet is spinning.  Possible revolution of about 9 days.  Then, the same features should show up again and again in a repeating pattern every 9 days.   Well, let’s take a look, then:

If we go back in time 9 days to January 10th, 2015 UT, images of the comet should look similar to the 1st image in my animation.  So, I went to Spaceweather’s Comet Gallery and found these images from the day in question.   Here is a partial list:

Taken by Adriano Valvasori

Taken by Norbert Mrozek

Taken by Knut Schäffner

Taken by Gianni Cerrato (xamad)

There you go.  Almost exact matches.   The comet changes but it also doesn’t.  It repeats a pattern because it is rotating.  We see the same tail structures every 9 days, at least in this part of the apparition.   On Tuesday, Jan 27th, 2015 CST (Wed Jan 28th, UT, ) the comet should present the same structures again as in my 1st image.

Unfortunately, the Moon will be just past 1st quarter and just to the southeast of Comet Lovejoy, so getting enough detail of the dim tail features will be difficult.  I might try my Lumicon Deep Sky filter on it with the Canon 200mm F/2.8 telephoto to see if that blocks some of the moonlight.

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