Update: Comet ISON

Before I begin, the actual name is C/2012 S1 (ISON), but for all intensive purposes I’m calling it ISON for the rest of the articles relating to it.

Since my interview with Dean Blundell I’ve been bombarded with e-mails and comments about more info on this celestial event to be, which is fine, I’m happy there’s more people interested in this sort of stuff in the city! Keep blowing up my e-mail inbox, I enjoy what I do, and am happy to help anyone! Back on topic, to help alleviate repeating myself over and over again, here’s the latest info I have on the comet.

Comet ISON will be visible to the naked eye beginning at an estimated late November 2013 (23rd+), at about 0300hrs EST. Since many of my readers don’t have high precision measurement tools and specialized equipment for viewing (read: MOST) I’m going to give you rough estimates using something everyone should have. If you live in Toronto, position yourself so that Libra constellation is about in the middle of the CN Tower. Don’t worry if it’s not exactly in the middle, or even possible to line it up straight, you just need to look in the general direction. Hold your outstretched arm towards the CN Tower, and clench your fist (pretend you’re “grabbing” the CN Tower). About one fist to the right of the tower, and about one fist up from that position and you should see Saturn; repeat and you should then see Mercury. Now that you have your bearings, about 3 to 4 fists length to the right of the tower, and about one up is where ISON will first appear late November of this year. It will continue on a straight trajectory at about 70° from the horizon (which means it will be traveling right, away from the CN tower, as the days pass).

For readers with an 8″ refactor or greater, here’s where you can aim your scope to see ISON right now (far less spectacular than later this year).
T:2013 Nov.28:87 | e=0.99 | Peri.=345.56 | q=0.012 AU | Incl=62.36

comet-c2012-s1-ison

Please take into account that the above picture is ISON’s current position.
The above picture will be invalid come late 2013.

I suspect that the majority of my readers don’t have powerful telescopes or other viewing equipment, so come late 2013, here’s where you’ll want to be looking.

2013-nov-24

Take the little horizon bump under the label Libra as where the CN Tower should be.

And for no reason other than to show readers something cool, here’s a picture of Comet Lovejoy as seen from the International Space Station in late 2011!

613648main_iss030e017838_wp_946-710

Jeff Wilton

Jeff is the founder and owner of Everyday Science Stuff. ESS is a one man operation, with the core belief that all education should be served without crippling debt tuition, without revenue generating ads and without any restrictions of any kind such as paywalls, forced login and account creations, geographical restrictions, and so on.

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