Sungrazing Comet ISON Brightens in the Morning Sky

Discovered in 2012, Comet ISON is brightening rapidly as it moves on its orbit with increasing speed towards its point of closest approach to the Sun. Here, on 28th of November, it just grazes the Sun’s surface. The comet is best viewed with binoculars before dawn from a dark site with a clear view towards the eastern or south-eastern horizon. Astronomers are hoping that this rare “sungrazing” comet will become visible with the naked eye, either before closest approach to the Sun or shortly afterwards in early December. Nobody can yet say how bright the comet will be or whether it will even survive its encounter with the Sun’s strong gravity and hot, fiery surface. However, astronomers are eagerly observing this comet’s passage on its journey around the Sun, and are keen to discover its eventual fate. See the Armagh Observatory website for links to sky charts showing the comet’s changing position against the background stars.

Comet ISON sky charts, coloured and inverted versions.
Click on image to enlarge.
November 15th 06.30
Comet ISON Sky Chart

Comet ISON Sky Chart

November 20th 07.00am
Comet ISON Sky Chart

Comet ISON Sky Chart

November 22nd 07.20am
Comet ISON Sky Chart

Comet ISON Sky Chart

December 7th 07.00am
Comet ISON Sky Chart

Comet ISON Sky Chart

December 14th 07.00am
Comet ISON Sky Chart

Comet ISON Sky Chart

December 14th 05.30pm
Comet ISON Sky Chart

Comet ISON Sky Chart

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Libby McKearney at the Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG. Tel.: 028-3752-2928; FAX: 028-3752-7174; lmkat signarm.ac.uk.

Last Revised: 2013 November 21th