Comet Ison is a comet full of surprises, and was discovered and observed since September 2012. It was named the Comet of the century for showing a lot of potential according to sources such as NASA and scientific media such as Astronomy and Sky and Telescope magazine, and many blogs and website around the globe.
Many amateur Astronomers with scopes no less than 8 inches (~20 cm) of aperture power got images as early as October. The comet was 1st spotted on June after it disappearing for few months.
The comet didn’t brighten at the same rate as it was expected. Even when it closer to the Sun, and was in the inner part of the solar system as of early October, which is the rocky planets part. It was a small let down. Still, a new comet in the sky is eventful.
Comet Ison was 1st logged in my logbook on November the 2nd 2013. It was early in the morning before Sunrise a couple miles away from the highway that took me away from the city. It wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be, I even didn’t use gloves this time and didn’t go inside the car for a warm break.
The Comet was dim, and I couldn’t see it with the naked eye. However, I took view pictures of the location where I thought the comets would be in the field of view of the frame.
The comet was comfortably 10 degree above the horizon and bright enough to be capture with my camera lens.
I start to go every morning in week days before sunrise to a location near Castaic Lake. The observation of the weekend from the 9th to 11th November morning took place in the Sierra part of California. Then went back to near Castaic Lake and Rocky peak.
The weather wasn’t helpful though, and most of nights were cloudy. Beside, the locations I was observing from had a cloudy eastern horizon normally. Even in a clear morning, there are always few patches of clouds floating.
Most of the nights I spend stargazing and trying to hunt for the Comet end up with observing clouds instead and their behavior in the location I was in. At some night, the light pollution from the city Lancaster which is at the Eastern horizon usually colors the clouds above it in beautiful colors. The colors are not as beautiful as the colors of the Sunrise and Sunset, but it has its own magic.
The planets were bright enough to peak through thin clouds, and this year, in this few months, all five planets that can be observed with the naked eye were present. Venues is relatively high in the sky right after Sunset and Jupiter dominate most of the night, and Mars in the early morning in the Eastern Horizon before Arcturus and Spica. Mercury and Saturn rise up before Sunrise.
The perihelion, the closest distance in which the comet will be to the Sun, and where the observation of the Comet is most difficult from the ground due the brightness of the Sun, was scheduled to be on the 28th of November – 2013. This happens to be on the American holiday day Thanksgiving.
At Thanksgiving Day, around Noon, the comet was pronounced dead by NASA officials and many media because the space NASA/ESA spacecraft SOHO could not see after it passes.
The next day, the Comet brightens up in the other side, and shining again, dimmer, but still shining. The tail is ejecting heavy material and lack of the light particles in the tail, according to early reports from sources such as NASA, and Astronomy magazine, and news media.
Comet Ison is full of curveballs, and I can’t wait to observe its comeback from the perihelion in the next few weeks if it can survive that long, and I can’t wait for the 26th when the comet closest approach to Earth given it survived..
The Comet trajectory will make the observation accessible at dawn toward the Eastern horizon even after passing the perihelion.
Nov/Dec 2013, California.