Sweeten your May mornings with Comet Lemmon

Comet C/2012 F6 Lemmon cruises up the side of the familiar Great Square of Pegasus this month. Look for it starting about 90 minutes before sunrise low in the eastern sky. Let the W of Cassiopeia point you toward Alpha Andromedae; from there you can star-hop to the comet using binoculars. Stellarium

Looks like Comet PANSTARRS has company.This week Comet Lemmon begins nudging its way into the early dawn sky. Watch it to slowly climb up the eastern side of the Great Square of Pegasus in the coming weeks. Both comets are now below the naked eye limit and glow around 7th magnitude.

A beautiful pairing of Comet PANSTARRS and two bright nebulae – NGC 7822 (top) and Cederblad 214 (center) – in the constellation Cepheus on April 30. The colors of the comet and nebula are strikingly different. Sunlight reflected by dust colors the comet’s tail yellow; the light of hot, young stars embedded within the nebulae causes hydrogen gas to fluoresce red. Credit: Michael Jaeger

From a dark sky 7×50 and 10×50 binoculars will easily show Lemmon as a fuzzy spot, and you might even spot a long, thin tail. The comet slowly fades during the month while rising higher and becoming easier to see in the morning sky. You can use the map here to help guide you to it; for more details, check out thisĀ recent article I wrote that appeared in Universe Today.

9 thoughts on “Sweeten your May mornings with Comet Lemmon

  1. I watched a clip with an astronomer who is knowlegeable about comets. His name is Bob Berman I believe. He is fairly optimistic about ISON’s Fall appearance.

  2. I know this is early. But the next good comet so far after ISON may be K1 Panstaars, predicted a possible magnitude 5 in August of 2014. I was wondering if you know if the North Hemisphere will get a good view of this one if it lives up to predicted potential.

    • Edward,
      Yes, we’re in for good views in the morning sky right up to when it’s near peak magnitude, then it moves quickly to the south and disappears for northerners. JPL shows it peaking around mag. 6 from mid through late Oct. 2014.

  3. Hi Bob,

    In the field of view for your chart for the dates and path of F6 Lemmon, would L4 Panstarrs be in that same field? If so, would it be difficult to plot that for us as well?

    As always, thank you so much for the time you invest in your blog. It is very much appreciated!

    • Hi Bob,
      PANSTARRS was at the edge of that field and moving up and out otherwise I would have included it. I’ll make a chart for tomorrow’s blog – just for you ;)

  4. Bob, I love your blog and your easy-to-follow instructions on locating celestial events. Your photos are breathtaking and inspirational. Are you aware of any guides for night sky photography for beginners like me? Thanks again!

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