OPT's Comet Corner - Your Guide to Viewing & Imaging Comet ISON 2013

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The OPT Comet ISON Photo Contest is on! Don't Forget to Vote Each Day Until 12/31/13!

Don't forget to visit our Facebook page and vote each day for your favorite ISON images!

We have partenered with Spaceweather.com and UniverseToday.com to create the ultimate Comet ISON photo contest! Enter daily for your chance to win one of the amazing prizes our generous donors have given us.  We now have more than $10,000 in astronomy gear to giveaway from manufacturers including Third Planet Optics, Celestron, Stellarvue, Baader, Optec, Takahashi, Explore Scientific, Vixen, Meade & more. 

Check out the awesome prize packages available.  We'll have 10 winners to be announced in January!

You must be 13 years and older to participate.  All entries will be displayed in the Facebook online gallery to allow for voting by our Facebook followers.

There are several ways to enter:

Follow us and make your entry on Facebook.  Remember all popular voting happens on Facebook as well.  Simply "Like" us to get started!

Follow us and make your entry on Twitter.  Use #OPTCometContest to make sure your image reaches the contest. 

Via Spaceweather.com - When you post an image to Spaceweather.com you'll also be give the chance to enter the contest.  If you submit your image through Spaceweather.com that submission will also be posted to our Facebook gallery so that our fans can vote for you!

***Only one image per day, per user is permitted.  If we believe that entries are duplicated or invalid for any reason, those submissions will be immediately removed from the contest.  Entrants that OPT believes are participating in any less than honest activity: padding votes, using multiple accounts, etc. will be blocked from the contest.  Please, be honest, have fun and don't forget to vote for your favorites every day.!

Welcome to OPT's Comet Corner!

Comets are perhaps the most fickle creatures of the astronomical world and ISON is no exception.  It's rocky, frozen body has quietly stood the test of thousands of years but a close trip by the Sun has sparked its brilliance like lighting a match.  Once a silent, ice-bound mass, comet ISON is now a volatile object, constantly changing as it jettisons through space.   It is the very nature of comets that make them exceptionally difficult to predict and whether ISON is the "Comet of the Century" or not, its extended visit in our night sky will surely be a spectacular and memorable thing to witness.   OPT will be with you through the comet's exciting journey providing updated images, news, and advice on gearing up to view and capture ISON.  Check back on the Comet Corner often as we update new information and get a heads up when new information is available by following us on Twitter and liking our Facebook page.

Comet ISON News & Images

12/30/2013 - Goodbye Comet ISON - An Obituary by Galileo

12/4/2013 -  What Happened to Comet ISON?  NASA gives us the low-down on the fate of the much-anticipated "Comet of the Century"

11/22/2013 - Find Comet ISON the morning of November 24th with this handy chart - Astronomy Magazine

11/11/2013 - Join folks from Celestron & NASA at Joshua Tree National Park on Saturday, November 23rd for Comet ISON viewing!

11/07/2013 - Capture A Comet!  - A Guide to Photographing Comets by Richard Taylor, Founder & CEO of AstroTrac

11/06/2013 - What Might Happen to Comet ISON from Here on Out?  - Matthew Knight, Comet ISON Observing Campaign (CIOC)

11/03/2013 - Comet ISON - Image by Michael Caligiuri, Taken Morning of November 3rd from Anza-Borrego Desert, California

10/28/2013 - Comet ISON & Mars - Image by Joe Busch, Taken Morning of October 20th from Southern California

10/28/2013 - Vixen's Free Comet Book App Helps You Keep Track of ISON

10/21/2013 - Let Comet ISON be Your Introduction to Astronomy! - Penny Distasio

10/17/2013 - Get the Most from the Comet in Late October - Michael E. Bakich, Astronomy Magazine

10/15/2013 - A Projected View of Comet ISON & Mars on Morning of October 19th, 2013 - Pat Knoll

10/8/2013 - Comet ISON Update - Chris Hendren, OPT

10/7/2013 - Comet ISON - Image by Pat Knoll, Taken October 6, 2013 from Southern California

10/4/2013 - Call to Arms!  Participate in the Comet ISON Observing Campaign! by Penny Distasio

9/30/2013 - Comet ISON Swings by Mars by Penny Distasio

9/24/2013 - Amateur Astronomers See Comet ISON by Dr. Tony Phillips, NASA Science

9/23/2013 - Comet ISON Meets STEREO, by Penny Distasio

8/17/2013 - ISON: First Sight & Early Predictions by Chris Hendren

8/10/2013 - Comet ISON is Already Visible in North Eastern Skies - YouTube Video by Nemesis Maturity

Gear Up For Comet ISON

No matter what condition ISON may be in as it makes its way across the sky this Fall, OPT has the gear to help you see and image it.  From binoculars and tripods to telescopes, mounts and CCD cameras we have it all!  We will be updating this section with more product recommendations and advice so be sure to check back regularly.  Follow the links below to the equipment you need.   Need more help choosing the perfect gear?  Contact us! Anyone of our astronomy or imaging experts would be happy to assist you and answer any questions you might have. 


Specialty Packages and Recommended Systems

For the experienced imager looking for a more advanged telescope and mount pairing, OPT recommends the following systems.  Each preselected package below has the accessories chosen the attach the telescope to the mount.  You may need additional accessories to attach your camera, guide scope and camera and other accessories.  Our sales team is happy to get you exactly the right items.

ASA 12" Astrograph with DDM85 Mount  Package

Officina Stellare Veloce RH200 with AstroPhysics 1100 GTO Mount Package

ASA 8" Hyperbolic Astrograph with DDM60 Mount Package

TPO 12" RC with Software Bisque MX Mount Package


Perfect fo the intermediate user, the packages below are exceptionally user friendly and are well adapted to imaging.

14" Celestron OTA's with the CGE Pro Mount

11" Celestron OTA's with the CGEM DX Mount

14" Meade on the LX850 Mount

10" Meade on the LX600 Mount with X Wedge

Large Aperture Optical Tubes

A telescope with a larger aperture will help gather the most light possible, making a possibly fainter comet highly visible.  If you already have a mount, you'll find a selection of large aperture OTA's in the categories below.

7.1" - 8" Telescopes

8.1" - 10" Telescopes

10.1" - 12" Telescopes

12.1" - 14" Telescopes

14.1" - 16" Telescopes

16.1" & Up Telescopes


Large Aperture Telescopes Systems

Comets are thrilling to image and the best platform for imaging is an equatorial mount where a smooth arcing motion will allow you to take extended exposures.  Below you'll find our selection of telescopes, 7.1" and larger which are already paired with an EQ mount.

7.1" - 8" Telescopes with EQ Mount

8.1" - 10" Telescopes with EQ Mount

10.1" - 12" Telescopes with EQ Mount

12.1" - 14" Telescopes with EQ Mount

14.1" - 16" Telescopes with EQ Mount

16.1" & Up Telescopes with EQ Mount