How to find Comet Lovejoy in Starry Night


    Originally from ticket #4876.

    Last Christmas - or around then - there was a certain amount of
    publicity about Comet Lovejoy. This appeared in the SE about 4 am several
    days in a row and its appearance was described as like the beam of a
    searchlight pointed more or less straight up into the sky. Its brightness
    was rated at magnitude 10, which does not sound very bright to me, but
    several members of the Astronomical Society of Victoria saw it and reported
    that it was quite plain to the naked eye and more so through an ordinary
    pair of binoculars. Modest telescopes were said to even reveal a little
    detail within the comet's head.

    I was not able to see it from my home partly because of cloudy conditions
    and, on the days when there was reasonable viewing, because I simply was
    not awake at 4 am. However, I did activate Starry Night in the hope of
    finding out just where and when it should appear and what its appearance
    would be. However, though I updated files immediately before trying this
    Starry Night did not seem to know this comet - the <Find> facility
    returned zero results.

    It still doesn't, though the comet has long since ceased to be visible.

    I know that Starry Night can return zero results if the name of the object
    is not exactly what Starry Noght calls it. E.g. I have had a zero result
    from the <Find> facility in response to "Scorpio" which is the name for
    that constellation most familiar to me. Perhaps Scorpius is strictly
    correct and the other not strictly correct. Perhaps "Comet Lovejoy" is not
    strictly correct.

    So if this comet is known to Starry Night by what name is it known?


    Kendrick Pereira


    • Avatar
      Keiron Smith

      Hi Kendrick,


      The FIND function does seek out the specific name for the search query.  Please note above the FIND search window there are options:


      1. begins with

      2. is exactly

      3. contains

      4.  ends with


      Sometimes, choosing "contains" helps to find the object if the search term being used does not begin the same.


      Searching just for "Lovejoy" (and "begins with") should produce a search result.  


      If you do not see the comet Lovejoy (and try with the different options i.e. "contains" please read following: