With clear night time skies and relatively mild January temps, you might want to head outdoors and do a little stargazing this week. In the previous blog, Byron told you about the pairing of Venus and Mercury that is visible at sunset in the west.
Comet Lovejoy will be visible through the week, but you'll have to get away from city lights, and a pair of binoculars may help. Here is a view of the comet captured by Alan Dyer and used with courtesy to Sky and Telescope's website:
This view shows the comet near the cluster of stars called the Pleides. You can find comet Lovejoy by looking just above and to the right of Orion's belt (the three stars in a row)
Best time will be after 9pm Central Time. Comet Lovejoy, is still about at its peak brightness: about magnitude 3.8, as bright as it should get. Use the finder charts at the bottom of this page to find its location among the stars. Although magnitude 3.8 ought to make it a naked-eye object, its diffuse fuzziness means that most viewers, who live under light pollution, still need optical aid. In binoculars it's a biggish gray fuzzball, with a brighter core slightly off center. Can you see signs of the dim tail?
Graphics courtesy: Sky and Telescope Magazine.