Terry Lovejoy

Last updated

Terry Lovejoy
Born (1966-11-20) 20 November 1966 (age 54)
OccupationInformation technologist
Known for Digital camera astrophotography
Notable work
C/2007 E2 (Lovejoy), C/2007 K5 (Lovejoy), C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy), C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy), C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), C/2017 E4 (Lovejoy)
C2007 E2 Lovejoy.jpg
C/2007 E2 (Lovejoy) discovery frame

Terry Lovejoy (born 20 November 1966) is an information technologist from Thornlands, Queensland, Australia, most widely known as an amateur astronomer. [1] He has discovered six comets, including C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy), the first Kreutz Sungrazing comet discovered by ground-based observation in over 40 years. He is also known for popularizing procedures for modifying consumer-grade digital cameras so that they can be used for digital camera astrophotography.



Lovejoy is known among amateur astronomers for identifying modifications to digital cameras needed for astrophotography. Such cameras come configured with built-in filters that cut off infrared light. They also cut off some of the red light that many deep space objects emit. After he published procedures to modify those filters, [2] many amateur astronomers were able to improve their deep space photography.

Gordon J. Garradd named 61342 Lovejoy in honor of Lovejoy after discovering it on August 3, 2000.

On 15 March 2007, Lovejoy used a standard camera to discover the comet C/2007 E2 (Lovejoy). [3] Two months later, he discovered another comet, designated C/2007 K5 (Lovejoy) using the modified camera.

On 27 November 2011, with his discovery of C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy), [1] he became the first astronomer in over 40 years to discover a Kreutz Sungrazing comet from a ground-based observation. [4] The discovery was made using a Celestron C8 Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope working at f/2.1 with a QHY9 CCD camera.

On 7 September 2013, Lovejoy discovered comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) which became visible to the naked eye in November 2013.

On 17 August 2014, Lovejoy discovered comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) in the constellation Puppis. [5]

His most recent discovery, C/2017 E4|C/2017 E4 (Lovejoy), was confirmed on March 13, 2017. [6]

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Astrophotography Astronomical imaging

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Sungrazing comet

A sungrazing comet is a comet that passes extremely close to the Sun at perihelion – sometimes within a few thousand kilometres of the Sun's surface. Although small sungrazers can completely evaporate during such a close approach to the Sun, larger sungrazers can survive many perihelion passages. However, the strong evaporation and tidal forces they experience often lead to their fragmentation.

Great Comet of 1882 Astronomical object

The Great Comet of 1882 formally designated C/1882 R1, 1882 II, and 1882b, was a comet which became very bright in September 1882. It was a member of the Kreutz Sungrazers, a family of comets which pass within 1 R of the Sun's photosphere at perihelion. The comet was bright enough to be visible next to the Sun in the daytime sky at its perihelion.

The Kreutz sungrazers are a family of sungrazing comets, characterized by orbits taking them extremely close to the Sun at perihelion. They are believed to be fragments of one large comet that broke up several centuries ago and are named for German astronomer Heinrich Kreutz, who first demonstrated that they were related. A Kreutz sungrazers's aphelion is about 170 AU from the Sun; these sungrazers make their way from the distant outer Solar System from a patch in the sky in Canis Major, to the inner Solar System, to their perihelion point near the Sun, and then leave the inner Solar System in their return trip to their aphelion.

Comet White–Ortiz–Bolelli

Comet White–Ortiz–Bolelli was a bright comet which appeared in 1970. It was a member of the Kreutz Sungrazers, a family of comets which resulted from the break-up of a large parent comet several centuries ago. It was already easily visible to the naked eye when first discovered, and reached a maximum apparent magnitude of +1.

Great Comet of 1680 First comet discovered by telescope

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Puckett Observatory

Puckett Observatory is a private astronomical observatory located in the state of Georgia. It is owned and operated by Tim Puckett. Its primary observation goals are the study of comets and the discovery of supernovae. To facilitate the latter goal it sponsors the Puckett Observatory World Supernova Search whose astronomers have discovered 369 supernovae.

Great Southern Comet of 1887

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C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy) Kreutz Sungrazer comet discovered in November 2011 by Terry Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy, formally designated C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy), is a long-period comet and Kreutz sungrazer. It was discovered in November 2011 by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy. The comet's perihelion took it through the Sun's corona on 16 December 2011, after which it emerged intact, though greatly impacted by the event.

C/2007 K5 (Lovejoy) is a periodic comet, discovered on 26 May 2007 by amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy.

The Edgar Wilson Award is an annual international award established in 1998 consisting of a monetary award and a plaque allocated annually to amateur comet discoverers. It is administered by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) through the IAU's Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT).

Comet C/2012 E2 (SWAN) was a Kreutz group sungrazing comet discovered by Vladimir Bezugly in publicly available images taken by the SWAN instrument on board the SOHO spacecraft. It is recognized for being the first Kreutz sungrazer observed in SWAN imagery.

C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy)

C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is a long-period comet discovered on 17 August 2014 by Terry Lovejoy using a 0.2-meter (8 in) Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope. It was discovered at apparent magnitude 15 in the southern constellation of Puppis. It is the fifth comet discovered by Terry Lovejoy. Its blue-green glow is the result of organic molecules and water released by the comet fluorescing under the intense UV and optical light of the Sun as it passes through space.


  1. 1 2 Moskowitz, Clara (15 December 2011). "Ode to a Comet: Q & A With Discoverer of Sungrazing Comet Lovejoy". SPACE.com. Retrieved 21 January 2013. The sungrazing comet C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy), set to skim the surface of the sun late Thursday (Dec. 15), was discovered two weeks ago by amateur observer Terry Lovejoy. Lovejoy, 45, works in the information technology field by day in Thornlands, Australia.
  2. Lovejoy, Terry. "'Improving' the 300D for Astro". PBase.com. Archived from the original on 5 August 2004. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  3. De Groot, Vanessa (23 March 2007). "Stellar discovery from the back yard". The Courier Mail. p. 7.
  4. Smith, Deborah (28 December 2011). "Cosmic escape artist dazzles with a dash past the sun". The Sydney Morning Herald . p. 6.
  5. King, Bob. "Australian Amateur Terry Lovejoy Discovers New Comet". universetoday.com. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  6. Guido, Ernesto. "Confirmation image of Terry Lovejoy's discovery of". remanzacco.blogspot.it. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  7. "Comet Lovejoy Visits La Silla". www.eso.org. Retrieved 25 August 2016.