Looking out for Comet ISON

Blog the previous nights viewing. Link to images on the gallery or simply describe what you observed the night before. Leave the technical and howto in another forum.
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rwilkinson
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Looking out for Comet ISON

Post by rwilkinson » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:22 am

I've just been out (at 6:45am) to see if I could spot the comet in the pre-dawn sky (it's the first clear-ish morning we've had for a month!)
I was using my 15x70 binoculars, which put the comet in the same field-of-view as Mars:
binoview.jpg
Binocular view on 24-Oct
binoview.jpg (55.01 KiB) Viewed 3324 times
It was easy enough to locate its position using Mars and Rho Leonis as pointers, but with the brightening dawn and moonlight I needed "averted vision" to make out that there was something there.
I really should have got up an hour earlier (but with our local time switching back to GMT on Sunday that will mean two hours earlier!)

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rwilkinson
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Re: Looking out for Comet ISON (and 3 others)

Post by rwilkinson » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:40 am

Peeping out through my curtains at 5:30am I saw that the sky was clear, so grabbed my 15x70 binoculars and went out to have a look for the four comets in our early-morning sky.

Stepping out of the door, I saw Orion moving towards the SW horizon, and Jupiter high up in Gemini, dominating the sky. Starting from Gemini, I found the M44 Beehive Cluster, and then star-hopping through Cancer I soon came across Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy (the one discovered a couple of months ago by an Australian amateur) - very obvious in the binoculars. I've already managed to image this comet using the Bradford Robotic Telescope, but it's more satisfying to see it with my own eyes.
Then I moved looked round the SE, where Leo was augmented by a bright red visitor - Mars. I star-hopped to the position of Comet C/2012 S1 ISON, but couldn't convince myself that I'd actually seen it against the background sky-glow.
Moving round the garden, I found a spot from where I could just glimpse Virgo low down in the East. Comet 2P/Encke was conveniently placed close to one of the "bright" stars in this constellation, but at that altitude it was lost in the murk. And Comet C/2012 X1, currently in Bootes was hidden behind the trees from my viewpoints.

Still, spotting one comet out of four isn't bad, and now I know that Terry Lovejoy's comet appears much brighter (party due to being higher in our sky) than the much-hyped ISON, I'll be concentrating on the former. It's currently visible from midnight to dawn, so do have a look for it if you get an opportunity.

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