C/2007 F1 LONEOS

By David Grennan - Author Astronomy & Space Sky Diary.

2007 F1 was discovered as part of the Lowell Observatory Near Earth Object Search.  The actual discovery was made by B.A.Skiff using the facilities 58cm Schmidt Camera and a CCD.  The preliminary orbit indicated that this comet would become a telescopic object in late October, with a perihelion date (closest to the Sun) of October 28th.  However subsequent observations indicate that 2007 F1 is set to become significantly brighter than initially expected.  There is now a reasonable chance that this comet may even reach magnitude +3.  This would make it an easy nakedeye object. However there are some complications. 

2007 F1 is quite close to the Sun when it is at its brightest.  As such observers will have to content with twilight while observing this comet.

Comet LONEOS will be at its brightest on October 28th but that doesn't mean you should wait until then to observe it.  As of October 14th, observations have placed LONEOS at around magnitude +6.  This should make it a relatively easy binocular target.  You will need to use or charts below to help you locate it.

Note particularly how close the comet gets to a couple of bright stars.  Between October 18th an 20th note the proximity to the the stars 'Arcturus' and 'Muphrid', both of which reside in the constellation of  Bootes.  Also note that when the comet is brightest around October 28th, it is close to the bright star Zubeneshcamali (Zuh-ben-esch-a-maly).  Use this proximity to help you track down your quarry more easily.

Due to the inevitable twilight present while observing this comet, you will need to be equipped with binoculars to help you find this comet.  However later in the month when the comet is brightest, you might just stand a chance of spotting it with the naked eye.

Charts for C/2007 F1 LONEOS

The Chart below will help guide you to this comet as it graces our evening sky.  Stars are shown to magnitude +5.5.  The comet is plotted every two days at 19:30hrs BST (18:30hrsUT)after October 28th)

 (Click on the diagram for a higher resolution printable map)

C/2007 F1 LONEOS for October 2007

It is often interesting to look at a comet's motion as it passes across our sky.  The short video below (~2MB) shows 2007 F1 as it passes across the October Sky.  Also note how the angle of its tail changes as the moth progresses.  A comets tail always points away from the sun

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