Sunday, November 3, 2013

An update on Comet ISON

Via waiting for ison, November 2013 (Thanks Connie)

FINDER CHARTS FOR NOVEMBER 2013

As November opens, Comet ISON MIGHT have brightened to naked eye visibility, or it might not quite have reached that level of brightness yet. It should certainly be visible with a pair of binoculars to anyone who goes to a site with a dark sky unspoiled by light pollution This will be the most exciting time of the whole apparition I think, as each day more and more people get to see it.


Ok, Nov 1st, early morning, sky still dark…

Having said that, ISON will STILL be a pre-dawn object, so it will only be visible to people who either get up early or stay up late, i.e people who make a real, concerted effort to see it. Seeing it will still mean getting up before dawn, but if the comet is on track to become a Great Comet then it will definitely be worth it, because by now it shouldn’t need “finding”, it should just be THERE in the sky if you look to the brightening eastern sky before dawn. Of course, it’s possible that ISON will decide to let us all down and fizzle out, we can’t dismiss that possibility. But even if that happens it will still be worth looking for, and these images will help you find it. But let’s be optimistic! Let’s assume ISON behaves itself and doesn’t sputter out, and is a decent naked eye comet. Where will it be..?

As I said, until the very final days of November, the comet will be in the MORNING sky… Looking east at around 5am (UK time, yours will differ if you’re not in the UK, obviously!) on Nov 1st (below) you’ll see this scene: the comet shining close to Mars, with a beeyootiful thin crescent Moon beneath it, and Jupiter shining off to its upper right. I wonder how long ISON’s tail will be at this point…?

On that subject, please note, YET AGAIN, that the tails shown in these images should NOT be taken as accurate, for either their length or brightness. They were generated by planetarium software which can’t accurately predict WHAT a comet’s tail will look like, so just use these images to guide you to WHERE to look at the times given, and take the appearance of the tail on the images with a large pinch of salt, ok?


That will be an irresistible scene for astrophotographers with a wide angle lens and a clear, dark, un light polluted sky… A little later the sky will be brighter, but if ISON has a tail by Nov 1st there should be some truly lovely pictures to be taken before dawn on Nov 1st, with that thin crescent Moon beneath it…

by November 5th the comet will be here in the early morning sky…

by November 7th, the comet will lie between Mars and Mercury in the eastern sky before dawn…

…and for the next few days the comet makes a beeline for Mercury in the post-sunset sky, a little closer each morning…

Maybe it’ll look something like this on the 10th..? (my own artwork, might be right, might be wrong, we’ll see!)

Continue to the full article, (Its really long)

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