Comet C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy) approaches the Sun - UPDATE

Thanks to Jakub Černý we had the chance to works on the FRAM team fits of December 17, 2011. We sorted and stacked the best V-filtered frames, and have done some image processing on it.

Basically, it appears that, apart the two "tail branches", we have an asymmetric coma. In some treatement, there is the hint of a "curved jet" or "shell" (or whatever you would call it) in the inner coma, that appears to originate from the central condensation, developing in a "counterclockwise" direction. Obviously this stuff has to be confirmed in further images, to make sure it's not an artefact of my image processing. Abowe you can see the result (click on the image for a bigger version).

On December 17, 2011 the comet has been imaged in daylight also by amateur astronomer Vincent Jacques of Breil-sur-Roya, France. Images and video below taken with an 80mm refractor at 80x + near IR filter and camera DMK21 from 09:00 UT to 13:00 UT.

Australian amateur astronomer Vello Tabur captured a 5-degree-long tail of comet Lovejoy on December 19.7 with a DSLR in the bright twilight.

Finally a new image by the FRAM team obtained on December 20, 2011 with a 30-cm Meade SCT F/10 (0.66x) located in Argentina, Malargue.

by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero & Nick Howes