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Say Goodbye to Comet ISON (for now): Timelapse and Image Gallery

Comet ISON is heading towards its inexorable close pass of the Sun, which will occur on November 28, 2013. And while we’ve been enjoying great views from astrophotographers, that luxury is probably over as of today, as the comet is just getting to close to the Sun — and its blinding glare — for us to see it. But while we won’t be able to see it from Earth, we’re lucky to have a fleet of spacecraft that will be able to keep an eye on the comet for us! The STEREO spacecraft has already taken images of ISON hurtling towards the Sun; the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) will start observations on November 27. Then, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will view the comet for a few hours during its closest approach to the Sun, and the X-Ray telescope on the Hinode spacecraft will view Comet ISON for about 55 minutes during perihelion.

Will Comet ISON survive its close pass and emerge brighter than ever? Only time will tell. You can keep track of what is going on with ISON here on Universe Today, as well as at NASA’s Comet ISON website, the Comet ISON Observing Campaign website, and there will be a special Hangout on Google+ during perihelion on Nov. 28.

Above is a gorgeous timelapse of ISON from the Teide observatory in the Canary Islands on Nov. 22nd, 2013. See more images and videos below.

A last look at Comet ISON before dawn on November 23, 2013 from the Canada France Hawaii Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Credit: CFHT/CometISON Twitter feed.

A last look at Comet ISON before dawn on November 23, 2013 from the Canada France Hawaii Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Credit: CFHT/CometISON Twitter feed.

Above is a screenshot from the live camera views from the Canada France Hawaii Telescope webcam. You can see a live view from their webcam any time at this link.

A montage of images of Comet ISON, taken from January-May and then September to late November. Credit and copyright: Efrain Morales/

A montage of images of Comet ISON, taken from January-May and then September to late November. Credit and copyright: Efrain Morales/

Comet ISON seen on November 22, 2013 from Corvalis, Oregon, USA. Manual alignment of 20 frames of 4 seconds each in Deep Sky Stacker. Credit and copyright: A Nartist on Flickr.

Comet ISON seen on November 22, 2013 from Corvalis, Oregon, USA. Manual alignment of 20 frames of 4 seconds each in Deep Sky Stacker. Credit and copyright: A Nartist on Flickr.

Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) in the morning twilight, above centre, with Mercury above the trees at left of frame. Taken from home in southern Alberta, November 21, 2013, using the 135mm lens at f/2.8 and Canon 5D MkII at ISO 1600 for stack of 5 x 4 second exposures, tracked with the iOptron SkyTracker, with the ground from one exposure to avoid blurring from the tracking motion. Credit and copyright: Alan Dyer/Amazing Sky Photography.

Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) in the morning twilight, above centre, with Mercury above the trees at left of frame. Taken from home in southern Alberta, November 21, 2013, using the 135mm lens at f/2.8 and Canon 5D MkII at ISO 1600 for stack of 5 x 4 second exposures, tracked with the iOptron SkyTracker, with the ground from one exposure to avoid blurring from the tracking motion. Credit and copyright: Alan Dyer/Amazing Sky Photography.

Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) plus possible fragmentation or disconnect event on  Nov 21, 2013, taken from New Mexico. Credit and copyright: Joseph Brimacombe.

Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) plus possible fragmentation or disconnect event on Nov 21, 2013, taken from New Mexico. Credit and copyright: Joseph Brimacombe.

A glimpse of ISON from the Netherlands on November 21, 2013. Credit and copyright: Fred Kamphues.

A glimpse of ISON from the Netherlands on November 21, 2013. Credit and copyright: Fred Kamphues.

Comet ISON and Spica together during Full Moon on November 18, 2013, seen from Payson, Arizona. Credit and copyright: Chris Schur.

Comet ISON and Spica together during Full Moon on November 18, 2013, seen from Payson, Arizona. Credit and copyright: Chris Schur.

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About 

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

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Zubaida Alam November 23, 2013, 2:06 PM

    i hope it dosen’t sling shot by the moon and hit the earth on long 125w lat 23N

    • AFRODUMMY November 23, 2013, 2:26 PM

      No worries. Won’t even get close to the moon or earth.

    • Alan Seeger November 23, 2013, 3:40 PM

      It’s not coming any closer than 40 million miles. Stop being sensationalistic.

    • Olaf2 November 23, 2013, 7:28 PM

      Sling shot by the moon and hit Earth?

      Any deviation form its orbit makes it even go FURTHER away from Earth.

    • SupernovaElite November 23, 2013, 11:57 PM

      That would be a great way to go out though.

    • Mohsen Salahshoor .Ch November 24, 2013, 9:48 AM

      ISON will path about 0.43 AU from Earth. this is 167 times the distance between Earth and the Moon. if you put ISON in a line between Earth and Sun it will be somewhere near the midway between us and the Sun. just too far to hit the Earth. :)

    • Jaco Prinsloo November 25, 2013, 5:57 AM

      It all depends on what happens to ISON during perihelion. If it brakes apart we have no idea what paths the fragments will follow at this point. It could very well hit earth if it breaks apart. Not saying it will, but the possibility is there.

  • Brayan Corporan November 24, 2013, 12:43 AM

    All I know is nasa and the govmnt are very quiet,seems to they got their fingers crossed.Hope I cross mines too when it comes around the sun,something is going to happend and a lot of people dont know.B alert people.#hope is not to late by the time we s#!t our pants.

  • Brayan Corporan November 24, 2013, 12:46 AM

    Corrections, ‘it seems’ ‘happen”

  • Paul Lander Sarto November 24, 2013, 6:38 AM

    I hope this comet survives when it passes through the sun :( So magnificent

  • Olaf2 November 24, 2013, 1:49 PM

    Oh come on. Stop this panic mode.

    It is just a comet.

    The only thing that is going to happen are very nice images of the comet that gives cool new scientific data.

  • paul r November 24, 2013, 5:14 PM

    from kent in england we have just been watching what we think must be the comet ison,visible with the naked eye towards the east of uk. looked like a double star which first drew our attention. if it isn’t ison don’t know what it may be. visible from about 2120 to 2140

  • Mavro Syvannah November 25, 2013, 8:12 PM

    I love space humor. It’s a fantastic way to trick educated people into applying their addiction to teaching everyone a free lesson into their knowledge burdened reality. Peace begins in space. I mean the comment “I hope it survives” has got me in stitches. I mean the place where I had an operation is hurting from laughing too much. How gay is that? And then it passes through the sun not around it but this time “through” it. You know this is a professional comedians work because otherwise he would have written “thru” or “threw”. Bless you Paul and thanks for the chuckles.

  • JC November 25, 2013, 11:35 PM

    “I hope it survives” is not a joke at all. There is a chance that it will disintegrate at perigee. “Through the sun” Yes that is technically wrong but it is going to get very close to the sun. The radiant heat from the sun on ISON at perigee will be about 1500 deg. F. And the tidal forces from the sun’s gravity may rip it apart. We will see.

  • FaCu November 28, 2013, 2:47 PM

    visible at south América???

  • siggy November 28, 2013, 6:14 PM

    Ison did not survive but more are comming

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