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C/2014 E2 (Jacques) Returns

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#1 Octans

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 02:02 AM

So after a month hiding Comet Jacques is back. In the < 10 minutes behind the comet rising over a brick wall and the dawn washing everything out, I managed to get this image:
http://www.caglow.com/images/45

A bit grainy thanks to the full moon + dawn + really low in the sky, but it's definitely there with some interesting tail structure. This difference image by STEREO A shows it much more clearly: http://secchi.nrl.na...711_220921_S...

It's at magnitude 7 or so (didn't try making an estimate, but that's what I've been hearing and it seems reasonable) and will probably stay around that level as it climbs higher in the morning sky.

Anyone else try tracking it down?

#2 Galaxy_Mike

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 09:10 AM

I haven't seen it in a couple months or so. Glad to see it's above the horizon. Do you think it would be visual through scope/binoculars? Looks like it would be. Thanks for the image.

#3 Octans

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 02:22 PM

It's small, but its brightness should make it easily visible with binoculars.

#4 Special Ed

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 02:37 PM

Octans,
What was the comet's altitude when you made your image?

#5 Octans

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 02:57 PM

It was about 5 degrees above the horizon at the time -- right next to Venus.

#6 Special Ed

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 07:26 AM

Thanks. That's probably out of reach for me right now because of the mountain ridge to my east--I'll have to check. The comet is supposed to get higher as the month progresses so I may have to wait.

#7 Centaur

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 10:51 AM

I calculate that Comet Jacques will appear to pass 0.4° from magnitude +1.6 Elnath (Beta Tauri) on July 20 near 00 hr UT (July 19 in the Americas). Utilizing JPL parameters, the comet is expected to be near magnitude +5.2.

I’ve created a related preview chart and other comet graphics that can be seen at www.CurtRenz.com/comets

#8 LivingNDixie

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 06:44 PM

I calculate that Comet Jacques will appear to pass 0.4° from magnitude +1.6 Elnath (Beta Tauri) on July 20 near 00 hr UT (July 19 in the Americas). Utilizing JPL parameters, the comet is expected to be near magnitude +5.2.

I’ve created a related preview chart and other comet graphics that can be seen at www.CurtRenz.com/comets


I don't think it is naked eye. Best estimates put it at mag 6. It is a telescopic object now but should be a nice bino comet next week or so.

link

#9 Special Ed

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 06:53 AM

Curt and Preston, thanks for the links and info. It will be tough to get a good early look at this comet what with the low altitude, looming twilight, and moonlight, but my CSC is showing a forecast for clear so I think I'll try and spot it tomorrow AM.

#10 LivingNDixie

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 10:23 AM

Hey Ed,

I am going to wait till next week and go for it. Let it gain some altitude in the morning. Good luck though and let us how it goes!

#11 Special Ed

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 11:07 AM

Preston,
I agree next week will be better but the 24 hour forecast for clear is holding and next week who knows? It's been cloudy here most of the time for months now.

I will report back either way just to give folks a benchmark.

#12 Special Ed

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 09:49 AM

OK, I did see C/2014 E2 (Jacques) this morning at 0850 UT (4:50AM local). :) About 4:15 AM local, I went up to a high point in a pasture on my farm that I use to spot morning comets like this one. From there Twin Sugars Knob, the mountain to my NE, only blocks about 10° of horizon.

I set up my 108mm wide field reflector (thought I might need more light grasp than the 15x70's would give me) and put in my 28mm ep which yields 15x with an FOV of ~3°. Even though I knew I had to work fast (I've done this dance before with morning comets) I took the time to set up my hair dryer--air temp was 50°F with very heavy dew. Then I found that my Rigel Quikfinder had gotten knocked out of adjustment somehow so I had to fix that. :p

To help me find the comet I had downloaded a finder chart from Skyhound (thanks, Greg Crinklaw!). Keying off of Beta Tauri (Elnath), I centered that star in the Quikfinder, focused it in the ep, and moved the scope down (ESE) about 2°.

By now it was 4:50 local time and to my dismay the eastern sky was already brightening. With the gibbous moon as part of the mix, the NELM in the area of the comet was ~3.0. Looking in the ep, I could detect a faint fuzzball in the center of the FOV among the dim stars. I popped in another ep that gave me 19x and confirmed my observation. This was at 0900 UT (5:00AM local) and C/2014 E2 (Jacques) was at an altitude of ~13.5°. I could not see any detail beyond a small fuzzball with perhaps some elongation. I didn't have time to figure a position angle on the elongation before the fuzzball quickly disappeared.

So there it is. At this point I think an inexperienced observer with an obstructed view to the ENE would have trouble detecting the comet in all that skyglow. But this will soon change as the comet gains altitude and the Moon continues to wane. It must be fairly bright if I was able to spot it at all.

As I was packing up, blazing Venus rose over the mountain so I waited a little bit to see Mercury. I didn't have to wait long but could only see the inner planet (mag 0.4) with my 12x36 image stabilised binoculars. A nice little bonus.

#13 LivingNDixie

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 10:00 AM

Great observation Ed!

#14 Special Ed

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 04:45 PM

Thanks, Preston. I hope others get a look at this comet soon.

#15 Octans

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 09:56 AM

Quite happy to see the forecast be wrong about the 100% cloud cover this morning. It was almost completely clear except for a bunch of thin clouds to the east right in front of the comet -- though after the past several days of morning overcast, I can't complain too much.

Visually, it still looks like a fuzzball. Photographically though, there's now a nice 0.5 degree tail (that's probably, in reality, much longer, based on the STEREO images): http://www.caglow.com/images/46 It actually kind of reminds me of ISON right after its first major outburst, though that might just be from the waking-up-early-for-a-quick-glance-before-the-sun-takes-over routine.

#16 LivingNDixie

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 10:50 AM

Glad to hear people are seeing it. Once I get some clear skies I will be going for it!

#17 Special Ed

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 03:56 PM

Nice pic, Octans. Observers report a DC of 6 for this comet. Your image appears to support that (although long exposures can be misleading).

BTW, I agree that Jacques resembles ISON (at least for now). :cool:

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#18 Jure Atanackov

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 01:16 PM

Had a good look at it this morning through 11x70B. I was on the top of a local hill at 600 m elevation, the sky was clear but not particularly transparent and a 40% waning crescent Moon was up. The comet was at 7° above the horizon when I observed it - easy in the binoculars, but I could only see the fairly condensed coma.

C/2014 E2 (Jacques)
2014 Jul 20.05UT: m1=!6.4 dia=3.5' DC=5 ...11x70B, Jure Atanackov (Žagarjev vrh, Slovenia)[Moonlight interference, Moon phase 40%. Comet altitude 7°. Summer extinction coefficients used.]

Clear skies!
Jure

#19 LivingNDixie

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 09:11 AM

Glad you caught it Jure.

#20 Special Ed

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 09:36 AM

Thanks for the report, Jure. It continues to be cloudy and rainy here.

#21 aa6ww

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 02:25 PM

I saw it when it was at the foot of Gemini in the west, a few months ago. I'm looking forward to looking for it on Friday morning when the forecast is showing clear dark skies.

I usually start off with my 100mm x 25x Binoculars, then move over to a larger scope, probably my C11.

It should be fun!!

#22 astrocy

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 08:51 PM

I observed the comet this morning using 20x80 binoculars about two degrees from Elnath. It was easy to find and visible with direct vision and had a bright condensed elongated coma. I suspected a very faint short tail too, but I could not be sure as there was interfering light from the nearby Moon. I estimated the comet's magnitude to be close to +6.

#23 Special Ed

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 08:22 AM

Thanks for the report, Astrocy. It matches up pretty well with what I saw this morning (Weds., the 23rd).

I was ready to observe by about 4:30 AM local time but had to wait for a cloud to move on. Elnath (Beta Tau) and C/2014 E2 (Jacques) were much higher in altitude than my last observation on the 17th. NELM in the vicinity of the comet was 3.0 and the transparency was average. The nearby crescent Moon was scattering the light pretty good.

I looked for but could not see the comet with my 12x36's. Then using the reflector @ 15x, I starhopped off of Beta Tau about 2.5° to the NW. The comet was dim but in the FOV so I increased the magnification to 19x and then to 29x for the sketch. By now the transparency had improved a little but twilight was just about to start--hard to tell with the moonlight.

The comet appeared as an irregular fuzzpatch. I couldn't see any tail. Using the defocused star method and that pair of nearby stars I estimated the magnitude at ~6.4. It must be fairly bright because it hung in there in the ep for a while as the sky lightened.

A couple more days for it to gain altitude, for sunrise to be a little later, and for Luna to disappear and maybe that tail will be visible. Anyway, this is how it appeared to me this morning. Good luck to everyone with your own observations. :)

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#24 LivingNDixie

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 09:30 AM

I am getting jealous. I can't seem to get a clear morning...

#25 Octans

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 11:27 AM

Extremely clear morning here today. The "irregular fuzzpatch" coma sketch bears strong resemblance to what I saw this morning. Also had another try at imaging the comet's tail which appears to be over a degree long (but incredibly faint relative to the coma): http://www.caglow.com/images/47






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