Whoa. Take a Look at Comet ISON Now

by Nancy Atkinson on November 15, 2013

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Comet 2012 S1 ISON in outburst, seen on November 15, 2013. Credit and copyright: Damian Peach.

Comet 2012 S1 ISON in outburst, seen on November 15, 2013. Credit and copyright: Damian Peach.

Let the show begin! With all our reports and images of Comet ISON being in outburst, this latest image from astrophotographer Damian Peach shows just how much activity is taking place in this comet as it races towards the Sun. “Hard to believe this is the same comet in my last image of Nov 10th!” Damian said via email.

ISON’s tail is suddenly full of streamers and features not seen before in this comet. At less than two weeks to its close encounter with the Sun on November 28, only a short amount of time will tell us if Comet ISON is just beginning to show off its brightness or if it is beginning to break apart.

The views here are through good quality telescopes. It is just now becoming visible to the naked eye, looking like a faint smudge at about magnitude +5.5.

Below is a “negative” view from Damain Peach, as well as a variety of views from Joseph Brimacombe and others that are coming in:

A widefield view of Comet ISON, taken from New Mexico Skies at 11h 59m UT on Nov. 15, 2013 using an FSQ 106 ED telescope and STL11K camera on a PME II mount. 1 x 10 min exposures. Credit and copyright: Joseph Brimacombe.

A widefield view of Comet ISON, taken from New Mexico Skies at 11h 59m UT on Nov. 15, 2013 using an FSQ 106 ED telescope and STL11K camera on a PME II mount. 1 x 10 min exposures. Credit and copyright: Joseph Brimacombe.

A narrowfield, false color view of Comet ISON on Nov. 15, 2013, taken from New Mexico. Credit and copyright: Joseph Brimacombe.

A narrowfield, false color view of Comet ISON on Nov. 15, 2013, taken from New Mexico. Credit and copyright: Joseph Brimacombe.

And an animation from Brimacombe:

A negative image of Comet ISON on Nov. 15, 2013, 106mm F5.0 with STL-11k. LRGB. L: 5x2mins. RGB: 1x2mins. Credit and copyright: Damian Peach.

A negative image of Comet ISON on Nov. 15, 2013, 106mm F5.0 with STL-11k. LRGB. L: 5x2mins. RGB: 1x2mins. Credit and copyright: Damian Peach.

Another view of Comet ISON this morning (Nov. 15) photographed by Leonid Elenin

Another view of Comet ISON this morning (Nov. 15) photographed by Leonid Elenin

Spectacular photo of Comet ISON taken this morning Nov. 15 from Charleston, Rhode Island, USA showing the recent outburst. Click to enlarge. Credit: Scott MacNeill

Spectacular photo of Comet ISON taken this morning Nov. 15 from Charleston, Rhode Island, USA showing the recent outburst. Click to enlarge. Credit: Scott MacNeill

Check out a simulator of how ISON will look in the skies from Earth or see this map of how to see ISON for yourself:

If you haven't seen the comet yet, you can use this map to track it through the weekend as it zips quickly through Virgo. The map shows the sky facing southeast just before the start of morning twilight or about 100 minutes before sunrise. ISON should be plainly visible in binoculars in a dark sky. Created with Chris Marriott's SkyMap program

If you haven’t seen the comet yet, you can use this map to track it through the weekend as it zips quickly through Virgo. The map shows the sky facing southeast just before the start of morning twilight or about 100 minutes before sunrise. ISON should be plainly visible in binoculars in a dark sky. Created with Chris Marriott’s SkyMap program

And for comparison, here is Damian Peach’s previous image from Nov. 10:

Comet ISON on Nov. 10 before the recent outburst with well-developed dust (upper) and gas tails. Click ot enlarge. Credit: Damian Peach

Comet ISON on Nov. 10 before the recent outburst with well-developed dust (upper) and gas tails. Click ot enlarge. Credit: Damian Peach

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Ookmon November 15, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Beautiful

stephanie magnin November 15, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Aqua Vitae. Thank you Mr Peach.

stephanie magnin November 15, 2013 at 7:53 PM

SPF?

stephanie magnin November 15, 2013 at 8:36 PM

B’low us, away, far far far away.

Turaco Rovers November 16, 2013 at 2:01 AM

super

Saín November 16, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Sencillamente espectaculares imágenes.

cschur November 16, 2013 at 9:56 PM

These are all magnificent. I am here in Arizona stuck under massive clouds for almost a week solid now. Sniff, sniff.
Chris

Po'Rican November 16, 2013 at 10:45 PM

I’m At Dyess AFB in Abilene, TX wondering if I’ll get to see ISON. I have clear night skies right now!

Jeff Brailey November 16, 2013 at 11:50 PM

I am in Deming, NM, Last night I saw three shooting stars from the Leonid shower and at about 0400 MST I caught ISON through binoculars. I plan to be outside from around 0430 to sunup today if there are no clouds.

pATREUS November 17, 2013 at 2:39 PM

What a beauty.

Peter Jordan November 17, 2013 at 8:41 PM

Amazing what a CME will do to a comet.

Kebareileng Dipogo Lebalang November 18, 2013 at 2:58 AM

I am in Gaborone, Botswana (Southern Africa). What time should I stare in the skies to see ISON?

Meliora Cogito November 18, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Doesn’t matter where you are, the comet is currently visible in the pre-dawn sky (about 30 minutes before sunrise) though it’s quickly going to be unobservable due to its approach (angular position) to the sun.
It will achieve perihelion, its closest pass to the sun, on Nov 28, passing behind it (from our perspective).
After that, if it survives its close encounter with the sun and re-emerges, you’ll be able to see it in the evening after sunset. It will be at its closest to Earth (+/- 40 million miles) around Dec 26th as it heads back out of the solar system.

Steve taracido November 20, 2013 at 10:27 PM

Comet ISON , Can be seen before Sunrise , by looking with binoculars South East
Horizon ; on early Monday morning , we experienced a beautiful celestial event , The
Sun rising in The East and The Full Moon setting in the West . Took a Digital Photo
with my trusty Casio/Exilim 10.1 mega pixels Camera…Just Beautiful ! No clouds in
the perfectly blue sky. ( Go Up On The Roof Of Any Tall Building )
Hope the weather holds up , for a once in a life time experience , when Comet ISON
either passes or explodes , as it flies – by , approx. 680 Thousand Miles from the surface of the SUN ( 1.1 Million Kilometers ) a exactly 1:41 P.M. E.S.T. on Thanksgiving Day ,
November 28th , 2013.
Go to: Astronomy.com /ISON or NYMetroparents.com/Ison ( For A Map Of Path)
Take a look at the great and gorgeous photos of Damian Peach , British Astro-Photographer or Chris Marriots , Sky Map Program , on the Internet.
This Comet ISON is approximately 4 Million Years in its orbit and only God knows
what will be its outcome ; God Bless You and Yours During This Upcoming Season
and pray that God will continue to bless America this Thanksgiving day… we have
a lot to be thankful for !
Peace and Love To All .
Esteban “STEVE” Taracido
stevetaracido@gmail.com
Yonkers , New York 10701

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