New Timelapse of Comets ISON and Lovejoy

by Nancy Atkinson on November 12, 2013

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Comet 2012 S1 (ISON) is just 16 days away from its close encounter with the Sun and is now inside the orbit of Venus, at under 103,000,000 km (64,000,000 miles) away from the Sun. This new timelapse by award-winning photographer Justin Ng from Singapore shows the journey of both ISON and Comet 2013 R1 (Lovejoy), taken on November 11, 2013. The video covers 50 minutes of imaging time for ISON and 90 minutes of imaging time for Lovejoy.

As you watch the video of each, don’t worry – the comets and their tails are not fizzling out! This actually reflects the reduced visibility of the comets as the sky was gradually becoming brighter with daybreak. Additionally, Justin cautions that in the timelapse, both comets appear to be moving especially fast because of smaller field of view and long exposure.

Comet R1 Lovejoy imaged on November 10th by astrophtographer Justin Ng. (Credit: Justin Ng).

Comet R1 Lovejoy imaged on November 10th by astrophtographer Justin Ng. (Credit: Justin Ng).

On November 4, there were indications of a possible ion tail emerging from Comet ISON, and this comet’s growing dust tail now stretches to more than a full moon’s diameter. “Comet ISON is now plunging towards the Sun with 2 long tails at a magnitude of around +7 and it is visible in small scopes and strong binoculars,” writes Justin.

Comet ISON flies in front of constellation Virgo this week (from our vantage point on Earth) and it is expected to grow some 2.5 times brighter before it passes by the bright star Spica in Virgo on November 17 and 18.

“Comet Lovejoy just passed into the constellation Leo with a magnitude of around +6 and it’s an easy binocular object,” said Justin. “R1 Lovejoy will remain well placed at 50 to 60 degrees above the northeastern horizon before sunrise through this week for observers from near the Equator.”

Keep tabs on Justin’s work on his website , G+ page, and Facebook.

Keep tabs on the latest on Comet ISON at the Comet ISON Observing Campaign website.

Timelapse of Comet ISON and Comet Lovejoy from Justin Ng Photo on Vimeo.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

SupernovaElite November 12, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Did discover another comet there at the end? Anyone know what that was?

Aqua4U November 12, 2013 at 10:08 PM

It would certainly be interesting if it turned out that Justin has discovered a ‘co-orbiting’ chunk of Comet ISON! Otherwise, what are the odds and incredible coincidence that it were a separate cometary or asteroid body in the same field of view!

Memo to self: Set alarm clock for 4 A.M.

Superluminal2 November 13, 2013 at 2:30 AM

Not to unusuall to catch an asteroid in the background. There are programs that can tell you what asteroids may have been in that position when that picture was taken. Unless, of course, it is an undiscovered object.

Debbie Reed November 15, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Can you tell me where and when I will be able to see both cometd? I have my telescope ready and I am very anxious to see them. Thanks
Debbir

Leonard Ellul-Mercer November 13, 2013 at 5:17 AM

I have captured such “objects” ,on many of my images, which appear to move when the sub. images are stacked. Only to discover later that they are artifacts from some nearby stars or something else in the imaging system. But one can always check with competent sites whether it is an artifact or not.

Rod Johnson November 14, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Can anyone point me to a tool where I can visualize the solar wind/CME in the same view as the positions of comets and the inner planets?

IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE November 14, 2013 at 6:00 PM
Ted Swift November 15, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Thank you for the beautiful time-lapse movies, Justin! The white object in the lower left of the Lovejoy sequence might be a camera or equipment artifact, or it might very well be an asteroid. We know of over 625,629 asteroids, so it might be more surprising if you DIDN’T see one, since the exposures were long enough to pick up some relatively dim objects (which most asteroids are). The Minor Planet Center (http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/ )has some web tools that would help identify whether any known objects fit the observations. If this turns out to be “real”, whether known or unknown, Justin could help refine the knowledge of its orbit by sending in the observations. The sky needs more eyes.

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