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Comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon) will soon be reaching naked-eye visibility. However it is currently passing high over Antarctica and visible only to southern hemisphere observers. It will be nearest to Earth on 2013 FEB 05 and nearest to the Sun on MAR 24. Its estimated peak brilliance of +4.2 should occur on MAR 20 while it is too near to the Sun to be seen by naked eyes.
After the comet passes perihelion, it may briefly become visible to naked eyes in the northern hemisphere. I’ve created six related graphics with data that can be seen at: www.CurtRenz.com/comets
Photos and descriptions of the comet would be welcome additions to this thread.
Last Edit: Jan 30, 2013 17:54:24 GMT -6 by Centaur
Not really, Paulie; it's a matter of a little patience. This spring it will move into the northern hemisphere and become circumpolar here for millennia. Unfortunately by that time it will begin dwindling to beneath naked-eye visibility.
I think something nudged the Oort Cloud and these space rocks are more frequent now.
Lemmon, ISON and PANNSTARS will be interesting to follow.....but none will be "brighter than the Moon".
Ain't astronomy fun?
A nudge is rather unlikely, Joe. These comets are all coming from quite different directions. The Oort cloud is so far out that any nudges would send comets on orbits that divert slightly at first, but would eventually result in perihelia separated by centuries or millennia, despite them approaching the Sun from generally the same directions.
Much of this has to do with surveys designed to detect possibly harmful objects. So more objects are found. Most comets are rather unspectacular and often evaporate while approaching the Sun. In the past they may have never been noticed. A side effect of those surveys is that any nudger would likely be found, and none has been. But the number of known asteroids has grown a hundredfold in just a few years.
Indeed, the less than spectacular objects will be fun for us, even if not brighter than the Moon. Which causes one to wonder why amateur astronomers are not more appreciative of a Full Moon.
Post by Paulie pchris00 on Feb 1, 2013 9:27:51 GMT -6
I agree with Curt. I think we're finding more objects because we're looking for them. The entire sky is being surveyed across the spectrum like never before. So naturally objects are being found at higher rates than ever before.
"Just a boy, just an ordinary boy, but he was looking to the sky." -Vanessa Carlton