A sudden outburst of brightness from sundiving Comet ISON has catapulted it to the threshold of naked-eye visibility. "I've been imaging Comet ISON every morning," reports amateur astronomer Charles Coburn. of Rescue, CA. "Today, to my surprise, I could see it on my DSLR live preview screen." These two images show the comet on consecutive days as photographed by Coburn using the same camera and telescope settings, Reports like Coburn's are coming in from around the world. Apparently, during the early hours of Nov. 14th Comet ISON surged in brightness by a factor of approximately 6. In terms of astronomical magnitudes, it jumped from +8 to +6. If the trend continues, it could be a faint but easy naked-eye object by the end of the week.
The sudden uptick in brightness could be caused by a fresh vein of ice opening up in the comet's nucleus. Rapid vaporization of ice by solar heat is a sure-fire way to boost a comet's visibility. But, as NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign states, "we have no idea." The comet's nucleus is hidden from view by a hazy green atmosphere, so events in the interior remain a mystery.
"I have a strong suspicion that this is Comet LINEAR (C/1999 S4) all over again," says Mark Kidger of the ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre in Madrid. In the year 2000, Kidger other astronomers monitored Comet LINEAR as it disintegrated en route to the sun. "The sudden appearance of ISON's gas tail (discussed further below), the increasing fuzziness of its coma, and now this sudden outburst all
How do I know when I will be able to see it above where I live in Hamilton Ontario? I'm no amateur astronomer, that's for sure. It's a once in a life time event, so yeah I really need to see this. It's just a question of when and where to look up in the sky. I'm sure others here feel the same, overwhelmed to the point of - ok I give up, can't be bothered to sit outside all night hoping to see a glimpse of the comet.
Beautiful pictures of ISON though, thanks for sharing them OP.
Worth pointing out I think that ISON is NOT as bright to the naked eye as it appear in those photos - in fact it's barely visible to the naked eye at all, and then only in ideal conditions. I couldn't even spot it in binoculars this morning (though to be fair I was a little late and there was a bit of high cloud in the east).
They are great pictures though, and hopefully it'll round the Sun and reappear much brighter as an evening object at the end of the month
Okay, that was really weird and unlike anything I ever seen in the sky. I went outside to watch for ISON, thinking 'ok I'm not going to be able to see any Comet in this sky' since the stars were hard enough to see as it was. So as I was turning to head back inside my house while keep my eyes in the sky - all of a sudden I see this somewhat large cloudy while circular something just zooming across the sky heading North-West. I mean, it was so fast that if I had blinked my eye the moment had a glimpse of it, I surly would have missed it.
I'm really not sure what to think of this but it was beautiful and so otherworldly that it did not look like a comet and it appeared to be somewhat low in the sky but can't account for it's size or how high it really may have been but that was an awesome sight for only stepping outside for just a few minutes. Anyone else catch this as well?