Photo By: This great shot of Oort Cloud Comet C/2012 S1 ISON was taken on October 27, 2013 by great astrophotographer Damian Peach. CLICK photo for full size and see below for numerous links with maps, exact locations etc.

Many are hailing ISON as the “Comet of the Century” though much of the “Bright as the Full Moon” talk has vanished. All in all ISON is about ready to put on a show for us even if it doesn’t live up to the forecasted hype. Now that it crossed Earth’s orbit on Wednesday, October 31st let’s take a look at some current data and time tables……

*Current data places the comet at an apparent magnitude of about 8 which is beyond naked eye visibility and about two (2) magnitudes dimmer than it was predicted to be by this time though it’s likely to reach naked eye visibility in a couple weeks.
Its current location is in the constellation Leo (The Lion) in the vicinity of the planet Mars which now rise in the east before the Sun. Distances are at 85,534,135 mi. (137,653,847 km.) from the Sun and 106,486,501 mi. (171,373,411 km.) from Earth, traveling at 45 km/sec and shedding approximately 112,000 lbs. of material per minute which leads many scientists to hypothesize that after its passing we may very well may end up with a new meteor shower with ISON as its parent body. Estimates put Earths pass through the possible debris field somewhere around Jan 21, 2014.

ISON will reach its closest point to the Sun (perihelion) on November 28, 2013 at a distance of 724,000 mi (1.16 million km). This easily classifies ISON as a Sungrazing Comet and its parabolic trajectory tells us that it’s more than likely never made a journey through the Solar System before nor will it again. THIS is the crucial step we are all waiting for. If it survives its encounter with the Sun, there’s still a good chance ISON will keep us looking well into January. If it doesn’t survive, well, it breaks up and fizzles as another “What could have been” comet. We have to wait and see what becomes of ISON; with this timeframe being the most crucial.

ISON will reach its closest point to Earth (perigee) on December 26, 2013 at a distance of about 40 million miles (64.5 million km) or nearly 170 times farther than the Moon.

Formally designated C/2012 S1 (ISON), the comet was discovered on Sept. 21, 2012, by Russian astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok using a 16” telescope of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) located near Kislovodsk.

Damian Peach ISON collection:


NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign (CIOC):

National Science Foundation (NSF) ISON Photo Challenge:

NASA Comet ISON Page:

NASA ISON’S Journey:

Waiting for ISON (November Charts):

Waiting for ISON (December Charts):

EarthSky Data Page on ISON:

ISON Telescope Home Page:

Image | This entry was posted in Astronomical Events, Astronomy (Learning), Astrophotography (DSOs), Comets, Asteroids & Meteors, Images, News, People, Solar System and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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