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Thursday, October 24, 2013


Comet C/2012 S1 ISON farewells Mars, 24-31 October 2013

Location of comet C/2012 S1 ISON in the solar system on 24 October. Click to embiggenMorning sky on Thursday October 24 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 am ACST in South Australia. Comet C/2012 S1 ISON is to the right of  Mars, and visible in amateur telescopes. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Comet C/2012 S1 ISON continues to brighten. Currently somewhere around magnitude 9, It should theoretically be visible in small scopes and strong binoculars, but its fuzzy, diffuse nature, its closeness to the horizon (between 7 -12 degrees depending on where you are, except Darwin and Far North Queensland, where it is more like 20 degrees above the horizon) and the closeness of the bright Moon  means that it is difficult to spot visually in smaller scopes.

The Moons light will fade as the week passes, but the Moon also gets closer to ISON making it tricky to see in the coming week. The comet is just below and to the right of Mars, making finding it relatively easy. It is within a binocular field of Mars for the first few days. The it passes close by the brightish star 53 Leo (not labelled in the B7W map, but obvious) .

Some new images of ISON have been released from the Hubble Space telescope, and despite the Moonlight there are some nice images of ISON being taken by amateurs, see here and here. A printable PDF map is here.

A black and white map suitable for printing for use with binoculars and telescopes. The large circle is the approximate field of view of 10x50 binoculars, the medium circle the approximate field of view of a 24 mm eyepiece for a reflecting telescope and the small circle a 12 mm eyepiece for a reflecting telescope.Time is astronomical twilight.Click to embiggen. The image is reversed and inverted as seen through a telescopeA high power stellarium view of the region around Mars with ISON to go with the black and white spotters map.Unlike the spotters map it is not reversed and inverted as in telescope views. This view is on the 18th. Click to embiggen.

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Hi Ian. I've been reading your posts on ISON as well as others.

I've created a website/blog dedicated to the ISON Comet. My information is oriented primarily to the General Public, and less so to astronomers.

I've linked to your Astroblog, and would appreciate a reciprocal link at www.isoncomet1.com

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