|Comet ISON Sept. 24, 2013 by Damian Peach. See larger.|
Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) has been the most talked-about comet of 2013. When discovered in late 2012, it was said to have the potential to become a striking object visible to the eye alone around the time of its perihelion – or closest point to the sun – on November 28, 2013. People started saying Comet ISON and comet of the century in the same sentence. In June and July 2013, Comet ISON was behind the sun as seen from Earth, but when it was recovered in early August, it wasn’t as bright as hoped. What will happen with Comet ISON in the remaining months of 2013? Comets are notoriously unpredictable, but it’s safe to say that many are waiting to see if Comet ISON will sizzle … or fizzle.
Look below for a month-by-month Comet ISON viewing schedule and other information.
Alfons Diepvens of Belgium captured this long-exposure view of Comet ISON on September 17, 2013. He used a used an 8-inch telescope with a CCD camera for 55 minutes of exposures tracking the comet. Used with permission.
Comet C/ISON was imaged with the Hubble Space telescope on April 10 using the Wide Field Camera 3, when the comet was 394 million miles from Earth. View larger. Image via NASA, ESA, J.-Y. Li (Planetary Science Institute), and the Hubble Comet ISON Imaging Science Team
This comet’s orbit will bring it near the sun in November 2013. Some are predicted it’ll be briefly as bright as a full moon then, but, unfortunately, as its brightest it’ll also be near the sun’s glare. Image via NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Comet ISON recovery photo in August 2013. Amateur astronomer Bruce Gary in Arizona became the first person to spot it after its sojourn behind the sun from our earthly vantage point in June and July. Image by Bruce Gary. Full story of recovery here.
Amateur astronomer Bruce Gary at his Hereford Arizona Observatory became the first to recover Comet ISON when it emerged from the sun’s glare in August 2013.
What’s the story on Comet ISON’s August 2013 recovery and brightness? On the morning of August 12, 2013, amateur astronomer Bruce Gary was using an 11-inch telescope at Hereford Arizona Observatory, pointing only 6 degrees above the eastern dawn horizon, when he became the first to see Comet ISON again after its sojourn behind the sun during June, July and part of August. He did not see the comet with his eye, but created a composite image by stacking separate images, thereby recording a fuzzy point with an anti-sunward tail at Comet ISON’s exact predicted position among stars.
almost a quarter of the heavens as seen under good, dark observing conditions.
People all over Earth will be able to see it, but it’ll be best seen from the Northern Hemisphere as 2013 draws to a close. December finder charts for Comet ISON here.
January 2014. Will ISON still be visible to the eye? Hopefully. Only time will tell. On January 8, 2014, the comet will lie only 2° from Polaris — the North Star. And here’s something else that’s fun. On January 14-15, 2014, after the comet itself has passed but when Earth is sweeping near the comet’s orbit, it might produce a meteor shower, or at least some beautiful night-shining or noctilucent clouds. January finder charts for Comet ISON here.