Spaced-Out Challenge: You WILL See ISON*

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waldemar-skorupa-ISON_2013-11-16T05h09m_3x180s_1x120RGB_skorupa_1384606267_lg.jpg

Waldermar Skorupa snapped this fantastic shot of ISON's growing tail yesterday

Welcome again to the Spaced-Out Challenge. Whether you have a question about a scope, a new astronomical discovery you want to expand on, or just want to kick back and enjoy the cosmos above, come one come all on our weekly journey through space and time.

Comet ISON continues to brighten, and is now within range of good binoculars and small telescopes from anywhere in the United States (including light-blighted cities) with a clear view of the eastern horizon. As we have no idea what will happen on November 28th, when it tempts fate in it's closest approach to the sun, this week might be your last chance to catch this astoundingly beautiful visitor.
The comet has been changing it's appearance daily, growing multiple tails, exhibiting a bow shock, and transitioning to bright blue-green in the eyepiece since last Sunday. Residents of darker skies rejoice: it is now well within naked eye range, but you'll have to wake up early to catch it wherever you may be (and remember you are fighting against a nearly-full moon, so patience is required). Let me show you.

*Let's get through a few disclaimers first: these charts, created by Stellarium, approximate the comet's magnitude but it's apparent brightness will range on your latitude and sky conditions. As it races towards the sun and begins fighting the morning twilight (not to mention a near-full moon brightening the sky), it's increasing brightness (so far) keeps it visible for dedicated observers. If it experiences any additional outbursts, it could very well brighten enough to resist the brightened sky for even residents in suburbia to catch it with averted vision.
That all said, so long as you can get a view of the eastern horizon, whether urban, suburban or rural, you will see it with at least a pair of binoculars if you follow these simplified charts. The moon will start slimming tomorrow, and it's influence on the sky will wane by Saturday, but that is when ISON is positioned in the worst twilight of this week as well, so choose your date wisely. Anywho, set your alarm and dive in:

Comet ISON Finder Charts 11/18 through 11/23

CometISONFinderChartMondayNov182013.png

CometISONFinderChartTuesdayNov192013.png

CometISONFinderChartWednesdayNov202013.png

CometISONFinderChartThursdayNov212013.png

CometISONFinderChartFridayNov222013.png

CometISONFinderChartSaturdayNov232013.png

With the moon washing out the Leonid meteor shower and most of your major deep sky objects this week, there's really not much to discuss in terms of targets. But Comet ISON continues to wow, so what else could you need?

Share your observations!
Morons and 'ettes who have successfully spotted it, what equipment did you use, and how did it appear? I've seen some scattershot observations in other threads, so it would be interesting to get your report here.

Latest images of ISON
As beautiful as the images we saw last week were, the latest batch knock them out of the park:

Peter-RosAcn-_MG_0532-2Heng_1384728804_lg.jpg

Peter Rosén captures ISON faintly above the bright skyline of Stockholm this morning

Jan-Curtis-Comet-ISON-17NOV13_1384724470_lg.jpg

Jan Curtis snapped this just 10 miles south of Santa Fe this morning

Michael-JAcger-2012s120131117lrgbweb_1384718546_lg.jpg

Image by Michael Jäger showing ISON's astounding tail

IAA-CSICAstroHita-CometaISON-IAA-LaHita_1384706775_lg.jpg

Image by the IAA-CSIC/AstroHita

Hidekazu-Hanayama-and-Hideo-Fukushima-C2012S1_131115_1384599019_lg.jpg

Image by Hidekazu Hanayama and Hideo Fukushima of the Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory

Lastly, my favorite out of the most recent batch. Jerry Lodriguss' image has been posted on twitter heavily, but it can't get enough attention. Look at that tail. Look. At. That. Tail:

C_2012_S1_ISON_20131115byJERRYLUDRIGUSS.JPG

Image by Jerry Lodriguss

SpaceWeather.com has dozens more images, rolling in at a good pace now from all over the world.

Bonus Double Comet Fly-By Goodness
Both Comets ISON and Encke will fly by the planet Mercury tomorrow through Tuesday, and NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft is on it like a fat man on donuts:

***

The full Beginner's Buyer's Guide, our Comet Guide (featuring additional grab-and-go telescopes), and any other edition you're looking for can be found in the master index of all Spaced-Out Challenge threads here, but of course you can always inquire about binoculars, telescopes, and all the rest in the comments. As always, if you have astrophotography, product recommendations, or astronomy news you'd like to see on a future Spaced-Out Challenge, email me at theoneandonlyfinn (at) gmail.com, or tweet me @conartcritic.

Until then, clear skies and keep looking up!

Posted by: CAC at 06:33 PM



Comments

1 Lots of nice tail in this thread!

Posted by: Country Singer at November 17, 2013 06:42 PM (DE9KP)

2 Or more accurately, lots of nice tail in the post.

Posted by: Country Singer at November 17, 2013 06:43 PM (DE9KP)

3 Hey CAC, I picked up my old scope from the 'rents house yesterday.

It's a Bushnell 565. I have all the parts but the mirror thing that turns the eyepiece 90degrees.

a) do I need that?
b) If so can I just grab the part labeled "PentaMirror" on their website?

Posted by: tsrblke PhD(c) (No really!) at November 17, 2013 06:47 PM (GaqMa)

4 I'd like nothing better than to see ISON... but, having NO luck with cloud-free mornings lately.

Posted by: CPT. Charles at November 17, 2013 06:49 PM (lJaja)

5 I always like astrology threads.

Posted by: Dr. Varno at November 17, 2013 06:52 PM (V4CBV)

6
Unfortunately my love of astronomy is often trumped by my love of a good night's sleep.

That said, I love these posts. keeps me up to date on that thereastrology thing. by which I mean thang.

Posted by: Pug Mahon at November 17, 2013 06:57 PM (6rcHp)

7 tsrblke
Yes you do need it.
Bushnell doesn't sell that part on their website, at least when I just checked for you.
You will need a diagonal, and you'll need to check your eyepieces to see if the scope is one of the last .965 eyepiece designs. If it is, you'll need a .965 to 1.25" diagonal-adapter to use any other eyepieces. If you want to stick with what's included, search ebay for a .965" diagonal for telescopes.

Posted by: CAC at November 17, 2013 06:58 PM (+DZ/3)

8 Sure, ISON is a nice piece of tail, but like SMOD it's just another big tease

Posted by: kbdabear at November 17, 2013 07:00 PM (aTXUx)

9
Ok, how do I tell if I have a .965 scope? It's like 15 years old or more.

they had several things listed under the "replacement parts" section on service and support, including "pentamirror 0.965"

that's not what I need?
thanks cac, looks like no scope for deer season this year, maybe next though.
than

Posted by: tsrblke (Phone) at November 17, 2013 07:03 PM (GaqMa)

10 Hate to be a grammar Nazi, but you messed up "its" twice in the same post. Geez, this is not rocket science. Use "its" for possession, like "its tail"; use "it's" as a contraction for "it is". Here's an easy way to remember: imagine a sign that says: JUDYS FLOWER'S
Both words are wrong. Got it? Good.

Posted by: Les Hardie at November 17, 2013 07:05 PM (Zclrf)

11
Quite bummed its an early morning comet.

Maybe it will bring down a king or two IYKWIMAITYD.

Posted by: Guy Mohawk at November 17, 2013 07:07 PM (iGPSR)

12 Maybe it's not a comet at all, but an original Marker heading this way... praise Altman.

Posted by: Jacob Danik at November 17, 2013 07:14 PM (XIrbA)

13 http://tinyurl.com/mz7dlsn

Posted by: Jim at November 17, 2013 07:18 PM (vvk2F)

14
No. 13 above, is a nice pic of a lovely Comet.

Kept getting "too many spaces" message when I tried to post it with comment, so just sent out ahead, solo.


Still though, it IS a very nice Comet!



Jim
Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Posted by: Jim at November 17, 2013 07:19 PM (vvk2F)

15 Rainy and overcast here

Posted by: Null at November 17, 2013 07:24 PM (P7hip)

16 Well know this is just too cool.


Stepped out on the balcony to have a smoke, looking at the moon, and just saw a nice bright meteor heading east.



Posted by: HH at November 17, 2013 07:26 PM (XXwdv)

17 CAC, I live about 30 miles east of Phoenix so you know where.

For the last couple/three weeks I've been seeing something very bright in the sky in the west by southwest part of the sky about 30-40 degrees above level, it started to move a little more to the south in the last few days.

It's small, like Venus sized, but I don't think it's Venus, it's brighter than Venus usually is and it doesn't move in the sky. It's at least as bright as the Moon, maybe brighter. It hasn't moved very much in the sky, it's always right there,

Is that the ISS?
I can't think of anything else as it just does not move across the sky.

Posted by: Veeshir at November 17, 2013 07:27 PM (dKqLR)

18 Excellent Comet, Jim.

CAC, the GoScope I ordered Thursday through Ace's Amazon link arrived on Saturday. Too bad the clouds arrived Friday night and are still here. If the weather guessers are right, Tuesday morning is supposed to be clear.

Posted by: Retread at November 17, 2013 07:27 PM (IiAs3)

19 ...and just saw a nice bright meteor heading east.
-------------------------------------

Just as long as it wasn't North Korean, or Iranian.

Posted by: Tobacco Road at November 17, 2013 07:29 PM (4Mv1T)

20 Veeshir: What time of day do you see it? If you're talking about early evening, thats's Venus.

Posted by: Trimegistus at November 17, 2013 07:30 PM (HCToT)

21 OMG

There's something written on the tail.

Eat At Worf's

Posted by: eman at November 17, 2013 07:32 PM (AO9UG)

22 It's all night Trimegistus, from dusk till I go to sleep.

Posted by: Veeshir at November 17, 2013 07:32 PM (dKqLR)

23 So where I'm at the sky has finally cleared. So tomorrow or so should be able to see the comet, and the ISS is also going to be visible in the early AM.


My binoc's may not be the best, but I'll check out both.

Posted by: HH at November 17, 2013 07:33 PM (XXwdv)

24 It also doesn't move except very slowly to the south, it's been in pretty much the same place for around 3 weeks, only over the last few days has it moved enough to be noticeable.

Posted by: Veeshir at November 17, 2013 07:34 PM (dKqLR)

25 The Universe is amazing and stranger than we can know.

Posted by: alexthechick - SMOD, you taunty bitch. at November 17, 2013 07:35 PM (Gk3SS)

26 Veeshir: if it's not moving much over the course of several hours, that's not an astronomical object. You're seeing something in the atmosphere or on Earth. Any mountains in that direction?

The Space Station moves very quickly, typically west-to-east, crossing the sky in just a couple of minutes. I can't think a geosynchronous satellite would be bright enough to be visible.

Check out the "Heavens Above" web site -- they've got a pretty good tally of stuff in the sky and you can customize it to your location.

Posted by: Trimegistus at November 17, 2013 07:37 PM (HCToT)

27 A little mood music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFn9frzTJsk

Posted by: Psychedelicat at November 17, 2013 07:37 PM (Vk2pI)

28 The amount of gas making up the tail is less than the amount of gas in a typical living room.

Posted by: eman at November 17, 2013 07:37 PM (AO9UG)

29
Eman, I laughed out loud. Thanks for that.

And thanks, CAC. We'll see what the wind blows away overnight, and check out the east in the a.m.

Posted by: Gem at November 17, 2013 07:38 PM (zw+pb)

30 Posted by: Veeshir at November 17, 2013 07:34 PM (dKqLR)



Not the ISS. That thing is orbiting, and hauls ass across the sky as you watch it.

Posted by: HH at November 17, 2013 07:38 PM (XXwdv)

31 I was in a backcountry hut in the Battle range in Canada skiing in 1997 when HaleBopp came through. With no light pollution it was a fantastic sight to the naked eye.

Posted by: Derak at November 17, 2013 07:44 PM (VI8/b)

32

Really worth a visit.

Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory

http://mirrorlab.as.arizona.edu/

snippet

At the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory, a team of scientists and engineers is making giant, lightweight mirrors of unprecedented power for a new generation of optical and infrared telescopes.

These mirrors represent a radical departure from the conventional solid-glass mirrors used in the past. They have a honeycomb structure on the inside; made out of Ohara E6-type borosilicate glass that is melted, molded and spun cast into the shape of a paraboloid in a custom-designed rotating oven. Honeycomb mirrors offer the advantages of their solid counterparts - rigidity and stability - but they can be significantly larger, and dramatically lighter. With their lightweight structure, air can be circulated through the honeycomb structure forcing the glass to reach thermal equilibrium with the air temperature in a relatively short time, on the order of 20-30 minutes.


goto the site for more

really cool stuff

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at November 17, 2013 07:52 PM (IXrOn)

33 The Universe is amazing and stranger than we can know.
Posted by: alexthechick
--------------------------------

I made this assessment after exiting the local Walmart yesterday.

Posted by: Tobacco Road at November 17, 2013 07:56 PM (4Mv1T)

34 Our son said the most incredible night sky he ever saw in his life was in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Jane D'oh at November 17, 2013 08:01 PM (lVPtV)

35 The Universe is amazing and stranger than we can know.
Posted by: alexthechick
--------------------------------

I made this assessment after exiting the local Walmart yesterday.
Posted by: Tobacco Road
---------------------------------------

Really. It was like an episode of Star Trek.

But fat.

Posted by: Tobacco Road at November 17, 2013 08:02 PM (4Mv1T)

36 Watch Ronald Reagan beat the tar out of James Dean, who breaks into his house with a gun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqNDWEwP92o

Posted by: Tattoo De Plane at November 17, 2013 08:05 PM (Y92Nd)

37 Great pics CAC!!
Thanks for the post.
In the stars (and comets) His handiwork I see.

Posted by: teej at November 17, 2013 08:09 PM (JCIjD)

38
So I went out to glance around for kicks rather than just reading about it, and there is a monster bright star due west. I looked it up online and have decided it is Vega. Would I be correct?

Posted by: Guy Mohawk at November 17, 2013 08:10 PM (iGPSR)

39 Mmmm... Chicken and waffles.

Posted by: Scofflawx at November 17, 2013 08:11 PM (Mmwdu)

40 I remember standing on the beach one night at New Smyrna, FL and watching a bright light hover in the sky. Then, it suddenly shot to the left, then down, and to the right.

My husband came out of the beach house and watched it in amazement.

This was two days before a shuttle launch.

Yeah, it wasn't "natural."

Posted by: Jane D'oh at November 17, 2013 08:13 PM (lVPtV)

41 38 Venus if it hasn't set yet, actually. Then again I'm on the Pacific.

Posted by: CAC at November 17, 2013 08:15 PM (Tm4d+)

42 Thanks Tri.

There's no mountains or anything high there, it just started a few weeks ago, my porch faces west so when I sit outside at I'm staring right at it.

Weird.

It did disappear last week for a couple days, but then it came back.

Posted by: Veeshir at November 17, 2013 08:18 PM (dKqLR)

43 Was camping last June and was able to watch ISS move completely across the sky. It does haul ass, probably took 20 minutes or so.

Posted by: Buckeye at November 17, 2013 08:18 PM (l6Ooe)

44 Posted by: Buckeye at November 17, 2013 08:18 PM (l6Ooe)


Actually, it crosses the sky in about 3 minutes.


It is Fast!

Posted by: HH at November 17, 2013 08:24 PM (XXwdv)

45
OK CAC if you go outside right now and look SSW you'll see a hellishly bright light about 30 degreesoff the horizon.
I think it's a satellite because it's so bright and not moving I don't think. What do you think???

Posted by: DAve at November 17, 2013 08:25 PM (b7yum)

46 thanks CAC, man it is a bright one, like a flashlight. I'm in CO.

Posted by: Guy Mohawk at November 17, 2013 08:27 PM (iGPSR)

47 17 THAT'S THE THING i'M TALKING ABOUT. CAC go outside and see for yourself

Posted by: DAve at November 17, 2013 08:42 PM (b7yum)

48 48 Heavens above sez VENUS

Posted by: DAve at November 17, 2013 08:44 PM (b7yum)

49 Beautiful comet photos, CAC. Almost makes me want to get up early.

(Psyche!)

I say the following out of love, because in this particular post it occurs so many times that it really kind of hurts to read -- and it happens every time possible in your previous posts too. One simple piece of information can elevate the whole astronomical side of AoS:

it's = the contraction of "it is."

its = the possessive of "it."

Many people get confused over this, because most other possessives do indeed end in 's. But the exception is its/it's, because "it's" is already reserved for the "it is" contraction.

Examples:

It is a beautiful comet = It's a beautiful comet.

The comet's tail grows longer every day = Its tail grows longer every day.

Go back over your post and you will see that, in every circumstance where you could have gotten it wrong, you got it wrong:

...when it tempts fate in it's/ closest approach to the sun...

...The comet has been changing it's appearance daily...

...but it's apparent brightness will range on your latitude...

In all cases (and dozens of subsequent ones), it should be "its" with no apostrophe.

Again, I say this out of love. Learn one rule, and the world will rejoice!

/Grammar Nazi Mode OFF

Posted by: zombie at November 17, 2013 09:01 PM (+cx5n)

50

Oops, all that syntax fascism, and I forgot to close a "bold" tag.

FAIL!

Posted by: zombie at November 17, 2013 09:02 PM (+cx5n)

51 Just wondering if there is any expectation/possibility of the comet being more naked eye visible (bigger in the sky) after it swings around the sun or is this the end of it.

Posted by: SamIam at November 17, 2013 09:10 PM (HMI9a)

52 17 CAC, I live about 30 miles east of Phoenix so you know where.

For the last couple/three weeks I've been seeing something very bright in the sky in the west by southwest part of the sky about 30-40 degrees above level, it started to move a little more to the south in the last few days.

It's small, like Venus sized, but I don't think it's Venus, it's brighter than Venus usually is and it doesn't move in the sky. It's at least as bright as the Moon, maybe brighter. It hasn't moved very much in the sky, it's always right there,

Is that the ISS?
I can't think of anything else as it just does not move across the sky.
Posted by: Veeshir at November 17, 2013 07:27 PM (dKqLR)


You didn't say what time you see it. That's important, as the sky is constantly changing.

If you're seeing it in the evening, it sounds like Venus to me. The ISS can get brighter than Venus, but it moves pretty rapidly across the sky in just a few minutes.

Posted by: rickl at November 17, 2013 09:17 PM (sdi6R)

53 Maybe we need a Sunday grammar thread...

CAC knows all this cool astronomy stuff and does a weekly knowledge dump for the morons. I'll skim right over his it's and its. Keep the 'star bright, star light' stuff coming.

Posted by: Retread at November 17, 2013 09:45 PM (IiAs3)

54 >>>The amount of gas making up the tail is less than the amount of gas in a typical living room.

Is that after Burrito Night?

Posted by: Dr. Varno at November 17, 2013 09:56 PM (V4CBV)

55 ...but you'll have to wake up early to catch it wherever you may be...

Dammit, dammit, dammit!

Just my luck to live on the eastern edge of the valley, so the hills block the view in the morning.

Posted by: Blacque Jacques Shellacque at November 17, 2013 10:36 PM (VVsZ2)

56 I was successful in spotting ISON early morning sat. Couldn't see naked eye but with my 15x70 binocs. For those not knowing constellations look for the Kite shaped group of stars to SE and look to east. But really need binoculars at this point. I'm in SE Arizona

Posted by: nabqrules at November 17, 2013 11:10 PM (Irq86)

57 @52 ISS would be moving steadily across the sky check this site http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings/ for a schedule of when you can see it.

Right now with my binoculars it's a smudge, the last comet got me accustomed to what to look for. Also if you ahve an android phone/tablet there are a couple apps to help spot ISON.

Posted by: nabqrules at November 17, 2013 11:15 PM (Irq86)

58 47
17 THAT'S THE THING i'M TALKING ABOUT. CAC go outside and see for yourself


It's Venus.

Posted by: Additional Blond Agent at November 18, 2013 12:57 AM (FvyJS)

59 Think I saw it with my binocs this morning.

Posted by: t-bird at November 18, 2013 09:09 AM (FcR7P)

60 Now if it gets really bright: In 1965 when comet Ikea-Seki rounded the sun, a photographer caught it by using the roof of a house to hide the sun. The comet was just above the sun, with a huge curved tail, all easily visible in broad daylight. It was published in Life Magazine.

On Nov 28th at noon Eastern Time, ISON will be about 1 degree south of the sun's surface. (The sun is 1/2 degree in diameter.) It will curve around to the North-Northeast over the next two hours. Since it will be below the sun, it will take some work to find something to block it. Maybe just your thumb at arm's length will work. Don't bother with a scope or binoculars, because it will be too dangerous.

I was a kid when Ikea-Seki made its pass. I heard a bright comet would be visible next to the sun, so I went out to look for it - with a solar filter. D'oh!

Posted by: whoever at November 18, 2013 11:36 AM (yUY1h)

61 Thank you, nabqrules, for that hint. I'm crap at spotting constellations. The only one I can reliably find is Orion, which is no help for ISON. But I'm going to be heading out into the country tomorrow morning to try to see it. Fingers crossed.

Posted by: Maddy at November 18, 2013 07:12 PM (PteDo)

62 FYI- ill be quoting observations made by the horde for next week's edition, so if you catch this thread late, keep posting your observations.

Posted by: CAC at November 19, 2013 02:58 AM (P8YyG)






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