Comet ISON On Approach

Giotto di Bondone painted a comet in place of the Star of Bethlehem after witnessing Halley's Comet in 1301

Giotto di Bondone painted a comet in place of the Star of Bethlehem after witnessing Halley’s Comet in 1301

As promised here’s an update.
Comet ISON is on approach for the inner solar system. It just crossed and is within the distance that the earth is from the sun. It is scheduled to reach the sun on Thanksgiving Day, November 28,2013. So far Comet ISON hasn’t been impressive, and that could change in the next few weeks.

Right now there is a huge amateur observation campaign through NASA called The Comet ISON Observing Campaign(CIOC). It is “a NASA-backed program tasked with encouraging and facilitating a massive, global and celestial observing campaign for Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON).” Where amateur data is being filed and compiled.

Right now the comet is poised to start doubling in brightness. It is expected to be visible to the outer limits of the naked eye (6th magnitude) by the week of November 11, and is already visible, albeit as a speck, in large binoculars. Easy visibility in suburban(4th magnitude) and urban settings(2nd-3rd magnitude) should take a little longer probably around November 15-18 from what I’ve read. Yes, the lower the magnitude, the brighter the object.

Some estimates say that if it can be seen in the hours leading up to its arrival in the sun’s corona, it may be visible in daylight, ONLY if precautions are taken not to also look directly into the sun which will be right next to it.

Please do not look at the sun at all, much less with binoculars or telescopes!!

Just had to say it as many media outlets are going to hype it!

Great comet over Rotterdam by Lieve Verschuier, Dutch Golden Age painter of maritime subjects.

“Great Comet Over Rotterdam” by Lieve Verschuier, Dutch Golden Age painter of maritime subjects- text from wikipedia.

If ISON survives the intense heat, pressure and gravity of it’s slingshot ride around the sun, it will make the return trip out of the solar system as a comet, fully visible to the naked eye through December. Though ISON makes it’s closest approach to Earth on Christmas Day, December 25, 2013, it may be faded beyond naked eye vision by then.

We can only wait and see. Here are some links for you to check out:

I found this incredible article and the links on it are pretty much everything you need to know including where and when to look.
Check out: A Novice Observers guide to Comet ISON. By Corey S. Powell.

If you want to see some amazing photos of ISON, check these links:

Comet ISON Appears Intact – Hubblesite

Comet ISON – size difference in 10 days – by Mike Broussard

Holy cow…. jumped over the moon!- time lapse video of ISON!

And more video :
Comet ISON on the move

And coming up on PBS:
“Comet Encounter,” a documentary about Comet ISON, will air on PBS on Nov 20th.

Let me know when you start seeing it!


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