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Whoever said there is no such thing as time travel obviously wasn't an astronomer.  Here at the Western Montana Astronomical Association, we look back in time to see things much older than any living person.  Founded in 1982 and located in Missoula, Montana our club is dedicated to a personal appreciation of astronomy and to expanding public awareness of the night sky.

 

With over 20 members and an assortment of equipment, the club offers several public star parties each year.  For the latest information on upcoming events, check this site from time to time.  Please feel free to address questions (e.g., how do I join the club or how do I make this new telescope work or where can I find answers about interests in astronomy?) through the Contact Us form. Please feel free to come to a meeting or email to the club and we will be happy to help with any question you might have.

 

If you’re looking for information on the library checkout telescope program, check here.

What Is Astronomy

Comet Lovejoy, C/2014 Q2

The new Comet Lovejoy, C/2014 Q2, is about to enter its time of best viewing. And it's somewhat brighter than originally expected.

 

As of January 2nd it was being reported at about magnitude 4.7 to 5.2, but the light of the waxing gibbous Moon filling the sky has made it a lot harder to see. If the comet acts as expected from here on, it should reach about magnitude 4.1 at its brightest in the middle two weeks of January — when the Moon will be gone.

This is Australian amateur Terry Lovejoy's fifth comet discovery. He found it last August at 15th magnitude in Puppis, in the comet-search images that he takes with a wide-field 8-inch scope. His previous discovery, C/2013 R1, put on quite a show in late 2013 for observers in the Southern Hemisphere. His new find, C/2014 Q2, turned out to be a very long-period comet, but this is not its first pass through the inner solar system. On the way in, its path showed an orbital period of roughly 11,500 years. Slight perturbations by the planets during this apparition will alter the orbit a bit, so that it will next return in about 8,000 years.

 

Find more information about Comet Lovejoy, C/2014 Q2 Here.

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Western Montana Astronomical Association 2015