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Sunday, November 10, 2013


Comet C/2013 S1 ISON, from Mars to Virgo (20 October-9 November 2013)

20 October, Comet ISON near Mars (Mars is the really bright thing up the top)26 October, Comet ISON in the galaxies9 November, comet ISON passing by the Virgin

While comet C/2013 S1 ISON has not been  brightening as much as hoped, it is still brightening. This series of images was shot between 20 October and 9 November using iTelescope T14 (a 0.10-m f/5.0 astrograph with SBIG STL-11000M and 3.5 arc-secs/pixel). Unfortunately the weather was not kind, so I don't have a longer sequence.

As well, moonlight, light haze and encroaching twilight have affected the images, but even so you can see the substantial increase in in tail length and brightness over 3 weeks. Despite claims that ISON is just about to disintegrate (or has already disintegrated, or is a spaceship), it is developing nicely.

All images are stacks of 60 second luminance exposures, between 8 and 5 depending on the conditions. If you click on the images (warning, they are quite big), you will get a lot more detail, especially the middle panel where there are lots of galaxies, you will get much better detail.

I've got quite a few from T4 and T5, with higher resolution, I will have to process them soon.

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Is that what I saw last night in the west? Easily the brightest thing in the sky and it looked like its edges were jagged on it's left hand side. I'm in Belgrave, outer east Melbourne
No, you saw Venus. ISON is only viewable in the early morning, with binoculars or telescopes. Venus is passing through the star clouds of Sagiitarius, and the background Milky Way can make it look less planet like.
Ahh - I thought it must be Venus because it was just so much brighter than everything else, but it looked much different than usual so I wasn't sure. Thank you :)
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