Friday, November 1, 2013

Comet ISON Net Yet Visible

The Hubble Space Telescope captured this view of Comet ISON, C/2012 S1 (ISON), on May 8, 2013.
Will ISON eventually show up in the skies with magnificent brightness? We don't know yet.

Alas, my effort to spot Comet ISON this morning, as a kind of preliminary gauge to estimate its maximum brightness by Nov. 28th, went for naught.  Part of the problem was haze in the skies in the east over Colorado Springs. Also, some fog. Whether you are using a 7 x 50 binoculars or 60mm aperture telescope, these conditions are not your friends.

Many sites were forecasting a magnitude of +6 by today, which would mean reaching the naked eye limit of visibility. However, in practical terms - and often because of poor seeing conditions for many people near urban areas (what we call "light pollution") the magnitude needed to 'break through' is more often +4 or + 3 (the lower the magnitude, the brighter the object, see e,g,

So watching and waiting remain the bywords. I will continue to try to observe it through the next several weeks, including estimates of its magnitude if and when conditions warrant.

Stay tuned, comet watchers.....or rather, would-be watchers!

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