An angry monster lurks in the shoulder of the Hunter. We’re talking about the Red Giant star Betelgeuse, Alpha Orionis in the constellation Orion. Recently, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) gave us an amazing view of Betelgeuse, one of the very few stars resolved as anything more than a point of light.
Had your fill of binocular comets? Turns out, 2017 may have saved the best for last. The past few months has seen a steady stream of dirty snowball visitations to the inner solar system, both short term periodic and long term hyperbolic. First let’s run through the cometary roll call for the first part of the year: 41P Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák, 2P/Encke, 45P Honda-Markov-Padjudašáková, C/2015 ER61 PanSTARRS and finally, the latecomer to the party, C/2017 E4 Lovejoy.
Next up is a comet with a much easier to pronounce (and type) name, at least to the English-speaking tongue: C/2015 V2 Johnson.
Have you been following the Springtime parade of bright comets? Thus far, the Oort cloud has offered up several fine binocular comets, including Comet 2/P Encke, 41/P Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak, 45/P Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, C/2016 U1 NEOWISE and C/2017 E4 Lovejoy. Now, another comet joins the dawn ranks, as it brightens up ahead of expectations: 2015 ER61 PanSTARRS.
Had your fill of binocular comets yet? Thus far this year, we’ve had periodic comets 2P/Encke, 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková and 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák all reach binocular visibility above +10th magnitude as forecasted. Now, we’d like to point out a surprise interloper in the dawn sky that you’re not watching, but should be: Comet C/2017 E4 Lovejoy.