Comet ISON Has Company

Newly discovered Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy.  Credit: Michael Jaeger

Newly discovered Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy. Credit: Michael Jaeger

Well how about this? Comet ISON will have company in the sky in the form of another comet!

This new comet is the just discovered C/2013 R1 Lovejoy. The discovery was announced on September 9 after a couple of nights of observations (photographic) by discoverer Terry Lovejoy in Australia. This is Lovejoy’s fourth discovery, very good work.

Right now the comet is near the constellation of Orion but it is only a magnitude 14 to 14.5 so it’s going to take a fairly large backyard scope, better than about 200 mm or so. In fact Lovejoy found this one with a 200 mm (8-inch) scope and did that photographically. I think I’d need to use a CCD with my 250mm (10-inch) scope too. A magnitude 14 comet isn’t really like a mag 14 star, the light is more diffuse.

The best guess for eventual brightening for this particular Lovejoy comet is up to about a mag 8, so it could be a binocular target in the right location in November but a small scope would be better – time will tell.

I’ll keep you posted. Actually tomorrow I will point you to some free software where you can enter the comet data and keep an eye on where it is in the sky and a whole lot more.

The photo above was taken on 10 September by Michael Jaeger, no wonder it is so good, Jaeger is exceptionally adept at astrophotography. The streak you see to the right of the comet is a geostationary satellite.

ISON and the Mars Flyby

A nice informative video from Science@NASA talking about the upcoming flyby of Mars from Comet ISON. One of the better ones out there so far.

I wonder that the HiRISE camera on the MRO will be able to see, nothing mentioned on the MRO site so far concerning very recent viewing.

Source

Hubblesite’s ISON Blog

A fantastic image of ISON in April just released taken by Hubble.  Click for larger. Image credit NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

A fantastic image of ISON in April just released taken by Hubble. Click for larger. Image credit NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Have a look at this Hubble image of ISON; wow it’s amazing on so many levels, it’s destined to be on my desktop.

The internet conspiracy activity is beginning to blossom. LOL. I’ve also gotten emails trying to explain how and why ISON is in the process of fizzling out to be a non-event later this year.

I’m not going to bite at least until I hear it from a reputable source like the new Hubblesite ISONblog which promises a great source of current data about ISON over time.

Here’s part of what Hubblesite has to say about this image and if you want larger versions of it, perhaps for your desktops click here:

In this Hubble Space Telescope composite image taken in April 2013, the sun-approaching Comet ISON floats against a seemingly infinite backdrop of numerous galaxies and a handful of foreground stars. The icy visitor, with its long gossamer tail, appears to be swimming like a tadpole through a deep pond of celestial wonders.

Spitzer and Comet ISON

The Spitzer Space Telescope examines comet ISON. Click for larger. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHUAPL/UCF

The Spitzer Space Telescope examines comet ISON. Click for larger. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHUAPL/UCF

The beginning of a obseving campaign of our next Great Comet, ISON and what an observing campaign it should be considering the suite of instruments available nowadays.

The press release from NASA/JPL:

These images from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope of C/2012 S1 (Comet ISON) were taken on June 13, when ISON was 310 million miles (about 500 million kilometers) from the sun. The images were taken with the telescope’s infrared array camera at two different near-infrared wavelengths, 3.6 and 4.5 microns (the representational colors shown were selected to enhance visibility). The 3.6-micron image on the left shows a tail of fine rocky dust issuing from the comet and blown back by the pressure of sunlight as the comet speeds towards the sun (the tail points away from the sun). The image on the right side shows the 4.5-micron image with the 3.6-micron image information (dust) removed, and reveals a very different round structure — the first detection of a neutral gas atmosphere surrounding ISON. In this case, it is most likely created by carbon dioxide that is “fizzing” from the surface of the comet at a rate of about 2.2 million pounds (1 million kilograms) a day.

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