ISON moving through Virgo. Click for larger. Image credit: NASA/MSFC/Aaron Kingery

ISON moving through Virgo. Click for larger. Image credit: NASA/MSFC/Aaron Kingery

I’ve been having a lot of bad luck with ISON observations. It’s been a good while since I’ve seen anything other than clouds in the sky. Oh sure there were two or three mornings with semi-clear sky conditions but even then ISON happened to be covered. Right now it is a magnitude 5.24, probably a decent binocular object.

I will keep watching and you should too because ISON should be starting to brighten quickly and could be a naked eye object in just days to a week. Don’t miss out!

Here is a screenshot from Stellarium for 18 November 2013 at 05:30 and at 45 deg north latitude, you might find it useful for a guide.  Note: Higher latitudes will see objects lower in the sky and vice versa.

Here are the specific coordinates: RA/Dec 13h43m19 sec/ 12o53’26”

If you use the screenshot ISON will appear higher in the sky with respect to the stars on days preceding 18 November and lower in the sky and subsequent days.

As a bonus Mercury is approaching its Western Elongation and will reach it on 18 November, so if you have a good look at the eastern horizon you will get a chance to see it. If you can I say: lucky you! I have a mountain range in the way. When was the last time you saw Mercury? Seeing Mercury in the east is worth getting up for all by itself!

Here is the caption released with the ISON image above:

Comet ISON shines in this five-minute exposure taken at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on Nov. 8 at 5:40 a.m. EST. The image has a field of view of roughly 1.5 degrees by 1 degree and was captured using a color CCD camera attached to a 14″ telescope located at Marshall. At the time of this picture, Comet ISON was 97 million miles from Earth, heading toward a close encounter with the sun on Nov. 28. Located in the constellation of Virgo, it is now visible in a good pair of binoculars.

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