Spotting comet ISON

posted: 395 days ago, on Sunday, 2013 Oct 27 at 07:52
tags: astronomy, comets.

Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) is now a binocular target, having crossed the 10th-magnitude barrier. It is in Leo, somewhere near Mars, so if you want to catch it, you'll have to be wide-awake around 04:00 in the morning so spot it low in the east, shortly before sunrise.

ISON is currently hurtling Sun-ward at 144 356 km/h, which means in the time it takes to read this sentence it has travelled about 100 kilometers. It will be at perihelion (closest to the Sun) in about a month's time, on November 28.

The finder charts below, prepared with Stellarium, show the comet's position accurately enough to find it in binoculars or a low-power scope. For the best positions, go to the NASA/JPL "Horizons" website, at http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi, and select the Target Body as "Comet C/2012 S1". Or head over to heavens-above.com for a star map.

As always with comets, visit Seiichi Yoshida's website for updates, light curves, and more.

Finder charts

The star charts below show the position of ISON for each day, from October 28 to November 19. Right-click an image and Save-As to get your own hi-res version. Each image shows the view looking East, at 04:00 SAST.

October 29

October 30

October 31

November 01

November 02

November 03

November 04

November 05

November 06

November 07

November 08

November 09

November 10

November 11

November 12

November 13

November 14

November 15

November 16

November 17

November 18

November 19

nothing more to see. please move along.